Illegal outpost evacuation set for Sept.

Security forces hope to encounter less resistance after school starts, before Jewish holidays begin.

maoz esther outpost 248 88 ap (photo credit: )
maoz esther outpost 248 88 ap
(photo credit: )
Amid fears of violent settler resistance, defense officials said Wednesday that the evacuation of illegal outposts in the West Bank will likely take place after the school year begins in September. "There are a lot of children and teenagers on vacation now who can reinforce the outposts and make their evacuation much more difficult," explained one defense official. "The ideal time for an evacuation would be from once the school year begins and until the Jewish holiday season, when everyone is on vacation." Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is currently on vacation with his wife abroad, is scheduled to return over the weekend and begin holding consultations on setting a time for such an operation. The evacuation of the 26 outposts, the official said, would likely span a number of days since they were spread out throughout the West Bank and a one-day evacuation would require almost the entire police force and a significant portion of the IDF. Barak, the official said, planned to hold talks with settler leaders upon his return with the aim of convincing them to voluntarily evacuate some of the outposts. In related news, the officials said that the Defense Ministry recently completed construction of the West Bank security barrier surrounding Jerusalem, bringing the total length of the barrier to 500 kilometers. The officials said that 310 km. remained, mostly in the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert. The IDF had initially drawn up a plan to erect electronic sensors along the route throughout the desert but was now reconsidering the construction of a physical barrier. Construction on 100 km. of the barrier was currently being help up by the High Court of Justice, which was petitioned by various human rights and Palestinian groups. The officials said the barrier would likely be completed within four years.