IDF, police brace for Homesh march

Right-wing activists plan to enter site of evacuated N. Samaria settlement.

soldier disengagement298 (photo credit: AP [file])
soldier disengagement298
(photo credit: AP [file])
The IDF and Israel Police were gearing up over the weekend for expected violence on Monday as thousands of right-wing activists are scheduled to try and march to the former northern Samarian settlement of Homesh, which was evacuated under the disengagement plan in 2005. On Sunday, IDF officers from the Central Command will meet with representatives from the Judea and Samaria Police and finalize details of the operation. Security sources said they hoped the event would not turn violent but that they were prepared to use force to uphold the law. In February 2006, close to 300 people were injured in clashes between police and right-wing activists at the evacuation of the illegal outpost of Amona. "We will do everything possible to prevent the events of Amona from recurring," a police source said. "But the organizers should know that violence against security forces will not be tolerated." According to the current plan, the IDF will encircle the hilltop to try to prevent the marchers from reaching the area, and police will be responsible for evacuating activists who succeed in reaching the settlement ruins. A number of roadblocks will be set up in the area to prevent access to Homesh. IDF sources slammed event organizers, saying that the military and police would have to divert "precious resources" from training and anti-terror operations to deal with the illegal march. "Soldiers who need to be in training are going to have to instead deal with these right-wing activists who are breaking the law," an officer said. "Especially following the Lebanon war, we would have expected the organizers to understand that our time and resources are precious." On Thursday, Asst.-Cmdr. Kobi Cohen, police chief in Samaria, warned would-be participants that they would face strict penalties if they participated in the event and were arrested. The march is being organized by Professors for a Strong Israel, Komemiyut, Maginei Eretz, HaLev HaYehudi and Mateh Tzafon. Organizers said that thousands of protesters were expected to accompany former residents of Homesh during the march. The plan is for residents to reestablish their homes in Homesh before the Pessah holiday.