No sign yet that police will remove outposts set up to protest Bush visit

Despite vague assurances from Deputy Prime Minister Haim Ramon in the days leading up to US President George W. Bush's visit, and even after Bush himself called Thursday for Israel to remove illegal outposts in the West Bank, Samaria and Judea Police gave no indication Thursday that they planned in the coming days to remove a handful of outposts set up in protest of Bush's visit. Samaria and Judea Police said there had been no further discussion of plans regarding the outposts on Thursday. It seemed likely, with Bush's visit drawing to a close, that no action would be taken on the outposts until after the US president leaves Israel to continue on his regional tour. The outposts established - or rather re-established - in protest of Bush's visit are many of the same ones that were set up and subsequently evacuated one month ago during Hanukka. One such outpost, Netzer, near Alon Shvut, had one building when it was evacuated by Border Police on Hanukka. In the ensuing month, the hilltop between the Gush Etzion settlement and Route 60 grew another two structures replacing the one that had been removed, but both of those were removed when police came once again to evacuate it on Wednesday afternoon. Datya Yitzhaki, a spokeswoman for the Land of Israel Faithful, said that activists were planning to return to Netzer, as well as to a number of other outposts to spend Shabbat. Some of the outposts, including Shvut Ami, benefited from truckloads of building materials funded by American communities. The trucks were also used in a Tuesday night demonstration in Jerusalem's Har Homa neighborhood. One of the trucks, Yitzhaki said, was destined for E-1-area outpost Mevasseret Adumim, but was detained en route by police. One person was arrested, but nevertheless, she said, the truck continued to Shvut Ami instead of Mevasseret Adumim, where its contents were used to add a second floor on to an already existing building. Since its establishment - and subsequent evacuation - on Hanukka, the once-empty hilltop where Mevasseret Adumim sits has also gained structures, with regular "occupants" holding lessons and spending Shabbat on the site.