Border Police destroy settler homes

Synagogue also razed in unauthorized outpost Mitzpe Avihai.

Mitzpe Avihai 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Mitzpe Avihai 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
“That’s my son! Leave him alone!” screamed Osnat Nahum at the border policemen who were preparing to drag Elyashiv, 17, away from the site of the unauthorized Mitzpe Avihai outpost early Thursday morning.
As a policeman sought to grab hold of the wriggling teen, Nahum bent over her son, who was stretched out on the ground, and tried to pull him away from the police.
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Her younger son, Amihai, 14, also raced to rescue his brother.
Their efforts were thwarted by policemen, one of whom roughly pushed Osnat Nahum away so that she fell on the ground. A second caught hold of Amihai Nahum in a bear hug and held him back.
The policeman then dragged Elyashiv Nahum along the ground by grasping his navy blue T-shirt. His mother tried once more to stop police from taking him away.
“I came here to watch over him, to make sure that he doesn’t do anything,” Osnat Nahum yelled out.
For a few seconds, she pulled at one of her son’s arms while a policeman pulled at another.
Then she was pushed away again, and police succeeded in taking Elyashiv Nahum away.
Police then walked Amihai Nahum away from the site and took him as well.
Settlers caught the incident on video and posted it on YouTube Thursday, in the aftermath of a Border Police raid on Mitzpe Avihai, which is located just outside of the Kiryat Arba settlement.
The outpost was first erected a year and a half ago. It has since been destroyed more than six times.
Police said they had arrived at Mitzpe Avihai to destroy the outpost at 2:30 a.m. Dozens of police officers, including border patrolmen and members of the YASAM anti-riot unit, moved into the area. Once the officers arrived on the scene, the demolition took around two hours to complete.
The police demolished six wooden structures – four family homes, one structure housing singles, and a synagogue.
Settlers alleged that the police confiscated the Torah scroll and religious texts, including prayer books, that were in the synagogue. They also charged that Border Police beat up activists who had gathered at the site to help prevent the demolition after receiving SMS messages that security forces were heading there.
After the demolition, activists allegedly set fire to a nearby Palestinian field and threw stones at Palestinians.
Right-wing activist Itamar Ben-Gvir said that the fire was part of the “price tag” policy, under which settlers attack Palestinians and their property in retaliation for housing demolitions.
Police alleged that an hour and a half after the demolitions, activists surrounded an IDF jeep at the site of the outpost, punctured its tires and attacked an officer. Four people were arrested and taken for questioning to the Hebron police station.
The soldier was not seriously hurt and was treated at a nearby base. Settlers claimed that six activists were wounded in the day’s events.
Osnat Nahum said her sons had been attacked by border policemen.
Her sons, she said, had been involved in building the outpost, and the younger one had been sleeping there when the Border Police arrived.
Nahum was awakened by the sound of the telephone in her home in the Otniel settlement when activists called Elyashiv to tell him what was happening. The two then traveled in the dark to Mitzpe Avihai to find Amihai Nahum.
After hearing her younger son’s story of being beaten by police, Osnat Nahum went to the nearby station to lodge a formal complaint. They then returned to find his tefillin, which had been left behind.
That was when Border Police surrounded them and took both her sons away, Osnat Nahum said. At one point, she said, a border policeman briefly dragged her son Elyashiv along the ground by his peyot (sidelocks).
In the background of the video that shows their arrest, one can hear a stone land, and a policeman is seen racing off into the distance.
But Nahum said her sons had not thrown any stones and that she had given them strict instructions not to be violent.
She spoke with The Jerusalem Post around 6 p.m. while she was still at the police station with her boys, some 12 hours after they were first arrested. Only now, she said, were they being taken to court.
Nahum said she had told her sons that “violence was fruitless” and had instructed them instead to pray when soldiers came to evacuate.
“They will destroy and we will build,” she said she’d told her sons.
Aryeh Davis, who has lived at the outpost for over a year with his wife and two small daughters, told the Post that plans were already under way to rebuild the outpost and that this time, two more families planned to join them.
But Ben-Gvir struck a much more strident tone when he warned that the demolitions would elicit a strong reaction.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tried to harm area mosques as a result,” said Ben-Gvir.
National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari, meanwhile, said that when Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were forgotten in the trash heap of history, “they will be opening a new kindergarten in Mitzpe Avihai.”