3 arrested as settlers, police clash during outpost evacuation

Protesters clashed with security forces, leading to three arrests and damage from rocks thrown at several security vehicles.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Some 50 demonstrators attempted to block the evacuation and demolition of an illegally built outpost outside of Shiloh, in Samaria, on Wednesday morning. Protesters clashed with security forces, leading to three arrests and damage from rocks thrown at several security vehicles.

Israeli police and Civil Administration forces arrived at the Geulat Zion outpost in the early hours of the morning to clear out two families from their homes. They were met by dozens of protesters, some of whom climbed on top of tractors and bulldozers brought to the site to demolish several structures.

Physical skirmishes led to the arrest of at least three demonstrators, Walla reported. Security forces successfully demolished the homes and two other structures. As they were leaving the site, their vehicles were stoned.

A photo posted on Twitter by Makor Rishon journalist Shiloh Fried showed a police vehicle with its windshield shattered by rocks, along with a video of security forces pushing two female demonstrators.

Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben Gvir noted in a statement that Israel’s Negev desert is home to multiple illegally built Bedouin communities, several of which were retroactively legalized at the behest of the Islamist Ra’am party.

“At a time when areas in the south are being conquered by massive unauthorized construction, the government chose to enforce the destruction of Jewish homes that come to settle the land,” Ben Gvir said.

Settlements are a particularly fraught issue in Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s eclectic coalition, which includes parties spanning from the left to the right ends of the political spectrum.

Bennett previously pledged to legalize the Evyatar outpost after residents agreed to a temporary evacuation, which would see the State of Israel investigate a number of land-rights issues related to the area in which the community was built.

The settlers agreed to leave their homes under the condition that the outpost would be retroactively legalized.

However, Interior Minister Omer Bar Lev of the left-wing Meretz party has firmly said that he will block the legalization of the outpost.