amona girls crying 248 88.
(photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)
Fearing violent resistance, the IDF plans to deploy large security forces to demolish homes that have been built illegally since the government-imposed moratorium on Jewish construction in the West Bank took effect in late November.
Commanders have already trained for the operation, which sources said on Sunday would be the next stage of the moratorium's enforcement, after the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria completed distribution of almost 200 stop-work orders last week.
The sources would not reveal when the demolitions would begin.
According to the sources, the operations will include several rings. The inner rings will be made up of border policemen who will remove settlers who try to prevent the demolitions. This ring will also include bulldozers that will demolish the structures.
The second ring will be made up of soldiers, who will not directly participate in the demolitions but instead provide peripheral security.
The third ring will be in place throughout the West Bank, where soldiers will be deployed to stop right-wing reinforcements from reaching the demolition areas.
One officer predicted that level of violence during demolitions would be similar to the resistance security forces encountered during the evacuation of the illegal structures at Amona, overlooking Ofra, in February 2006. During those demolitions, unprecedented clashes erupted between settlers and security personnel, with the latter slammed by a Knesset inquiry for using excessive force. More than 300 people were injured, most of them protesters.
There is also a fear that settlers will take revenge against nearby Palestinians, as allegedly occurred with the arson attack against a mosque in the village of Yasuf last month.
"Demolitions are an escalation for the settlers," one officer explained. "If and when this happens, they will view it as the beginning of a withdrawal from all of the West Bank and will fight hard to stop it."
One defense official warned that if the settlers violently resisted the demolitions, the Defense Ministry would slow down the authorization process for the construction of communal buildings - such as schools - that do not fall under the moratorium order.
"If they do not obey the order there are other measures, such as slowing down the authorization process for public buildings," explained the official. "They will have to decide what they want."
Meanwhile, settlers are continuing to build in the West Bank. Over the weekend, a group of them set up a new structure on a hilltop in northern Samaria that will serve as a Torah learning center in memory of Rabbi Meir Chai, the father of seven from Shavei Shomron, who was killed in a shooting attack on December 24.