construction work in beitar illit 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Security forces Wednesday morning demolished two wooden homes that had been
constructed illegally in a forest just outside the Bat Ayin settlement in the
According to police, 20 officers accompanied the Civil
Administration into the forest.
No clashes or arrests were reported,
Judea and Samaria spokesman Gili Elhada said, despite a failed attempt by a
number of settlers to prevent security forces from leaving after the structures
had been taken down.
The homes were built near the area where Erez
Levanon, 42, a musician and father of three, was stabbed to death by
Palestinians as he prayed in 2007. The settlers have since referred to the area
as Mitzpe Erez.
Daniel Winston, who heads the Bat Ayin Committee, said
some 100 members of the security forces entered the forest at around 5 a.m. with
a crane. Many of the police lacked name tags, he said.
Winston, who is a
medic, was called to what he thought had been a traffic accident, only to find
himself at the site of the demolitions.
There was a lot of commotion, he
said. The homes, which had been built over a year ago, had been destroyed and
the families’ belongings were strewn on the ground.
Some people were
screaming at police.
Members of the Bat Ayin committee, he said, spent
the better part of the day seeking alternative housing for the two
“One of the more jarring parts of the whole experience was the
recognition that the enforcement agencies were more willing to go after illegal
Jewish homes than Palestinian ones,” he said.
Gush Etzion Regional
Council head Shaul Goldstein, however, said the structures had been
that their presence in the forest constituted a fire hazard. He added
families had been asked to leave, but refused.
In a statement released to
the media through Women in Green, the families said that “settling in
is not an irresponsible picnic by young couples who are looking to
relax, but a
clear statement of growth and expansion at a place where the life of
Levanon... was taken away cruelly and heinously, with the clear purpose
scaring us and paralyzing us so we should not dare to go out and
“Our settling Mitzpe Erez,” the statement continued, “is the one
and real answer to all those who try to paralyze and silence us –
whether it is
the external enemy or the government, especially at a time of the
whose meaning is the destruction of the settlement enterprise and is
dangerous for the future of the Jewish people.”
Women in Green
immediately donated $1,250 to rebuild the homes.