Young activists released after Samaria outpost evacuation

Young activists released

The Kfar Saba Magistrate's Court on Sunday released four minors arrested early that morning when they refused to leave the Shvut Ami outpost. The youngsters agreed to stay out of closed military zones and promised to honor a number of the court's other conditions. They were part of a group of 13 activists who were detained and then released by police during an incident that involved 50 to 70 teens and young adults. The young activists had camped in and around a temporary structure, which they had erected at the site on Saturday night. According to former Kedumim mayor Daniella Weiss, the teens had come to the hilltop located near her Samaria settlement along with hundreds of other settlers, for a second night of Simhat Torah celebrations. Among the people who sang and danced under the stars were Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika and Likud central committee member Moshe Feiglin. Weiss said that around 1,000 people sang and danced. After most left, the teens and young adults remained in an area of the Shvut Ami outpost known as Mitzpe Ami. After midnight, security personnel came and demanded that the teens leave, Weiss said. The soldiers and border policemen showed the activists an IDF decree declaring the area a closed military zone. The settlers refused requests to leave, according to the IDF Spokesman's Office. They were removed forcefully, and Samaria District police detained 13 youths suspected of setting fire to Palestinian olive groves and fields, and of disregarding a closed military zone decree. Esther Karish, a spokeswoman for the Samaria Citizens Committee, denied that the teens had lit fires. She said it was an attempt by police to demonize the group. Security forces often decided arbitrarily that an area of the West Bank was now a closed military zone, Karish said. Shvut Ami is one of a number of fledgling outposts erected by the Land of Israel Faithful in the last few years. It has been evacuated many times by security forces. According to Weiss, the outpost is home to six singles and one family.