IDF destroys Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria, Smotrich silent

Spokesman for bulldozed outpost calls on Religious Zionism chair to intervene, says demolition is an act of retaliation for recent clash between settlers and Palestinians that turned deadly.

By Adina Katz, World Israel News

The Israeli military destroyed a number of buildings, including homes, near the Jewish community of Kochav HaShahar in the Binyamin region of Judea and Samaria on Monday morning.

The demolition sparking outcry from settlers who slammed Finance Minister Betzalel Smotrich for allowing the bulldozing of the sites to move forward.

Smotrich, the chairman of the Religious Zionism party, has repeatedly promised that the coalition would support the building and expansion of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Several months ago, after the IDF bulldozed a vineyard owned by a Jewish family, Smotrich pledged to ensure that similar incidents would not occur during his time in office.

But early Monday morning, soldiers and security forces from the Civil Administration – a quasi-military entity responsible for construction in Judea and Samaria – began demolishing homes and other structures on the outskirts of Kochav HaShahar. At least 20 buildings were destroyed, and one settler who clashed with police was arrested.

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The demolition order came after local Palestinians claimed that the empty hilltop, which was not used for agriculture and was empty of of any structures, was part of their village’s territory. They charged that the Jewish settlers had appropriated their private land, and the Israeli government and Civil Administration appeared to accept that allegation.

A spokesman from the outpost expressed his displeasure with Smotrich and the coalition in a media statement, accusing the “right-wing government of continuing the legacy of Lapid and Gantz by damaging Jewish homes and settlements.”

The statement also referred to the arrest of Elisha Yered, a Jewish man who is currently under arrest for shooting a Palestinian in what he says was an act of self-defense.

The demolition “comes a week after bloodshed against heroic settlers who defended themselves,” the spokesman said.

“After the lies of the IDF spokesman who adopted the Arab version of the events in Burka were revealed, now comes the revenge,” he continued, saying that he believed the demolition was an act of retaliation as the “murder case they’re trying to [frame] on Yered falls apart.”

The statement added that it was “shocking that Smotrich is choosing to fight settlements.”

None of the right-wing parties nor lawmakers who have supported settlements made a public statement regarding the demolition on Monday morning.

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