‘Terrible scenes of violence’: Police brutally remove activists from new settlement sites

Some of the mostly young activists have been beaten to the point of needing medical treatment.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The Border Police acted violently overnight Wednesday while removing activists from six new settlement points in Judea and Samaria, with leading right-wing politicians calling the authorities’ actions illegal and anti-democratic.

The IDF moved swiftly to counter the attempt to establish the new communities, two near Kiryat Arba-Hebron, two in the Benjamin region and two in Samaria. They declared the areas “closed military zones” just two hours after the campaign began and prevented people from driving on the adjacent roads unless they could prove they lived nearby.

Large forces of Border Police then started evacuating the mostly young crowds. Various videos uploaded to news sites showed police surrounding just a few activists at a time, pushing down on their necks, yanking them and carrying them off forcefully as they sat on the ground displaying passive resistance.

Other police stood around them facing outward, in a seeming attempt to block the journalists’ and activists’ views of what was happening.

The police went overboard in their zealousness, according to Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan, who arrived at one of the clash points very early Thursday morning.

“We have seen terrible scenes of violence here,” he charged. “For example, two youths have been seriously injured, one whose jaw seems to be broken, and the other has a head wound.”

“The scenes that have taken place here and in other locations tonight haven’t been seen since the Expulsion,” Dagan added, referring to the 2005 forceful evacuation of some 8,000 citizens from their homes in Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip and four settlements in northern Samaria.

Dagan placed responsibility for the illegal use of force on interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

“Yair Lapid is responsible for the violence,” Dagan stressed, “and I demand that he stop it. Those here are Israeli citizens and this is their demonstration – and also the life-breath of democracy. The demand to establish new communities is legitimate.

“The Lapid government is betraying its task of building the Land of Israel and damaging Zionism, and the unprecedented levels of violence it is using are unacceptable in a democratic state.”

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked also protested the brutality against the “wonderful” Zionist youth, tweeting, “Again there is violence [against] settlers. It would be better for the police to save its energy to eradicate real crime in the country.”

A few thousand right-wing activists had answered the Nachala Movement’s call to counter what nationalist leaders have long denounced as a Palestinian attempt to seize land in Area C that the government has not acted against, even though the region is under Israel’s full civilian and military control.

The purpose of the initiative, said Nachala Movement head Daniella Weiss, was to protest the government inaction that is endangering the state and lead to a policy change that looks favorably on the Jewish people settling in their own land.

“We have suffered from the construction freeze for years, and also from the incessant attempts of Arabs to appropriate national lands,” she said. “Now we are saying ‘enough.’ We will no longer allow Arabs to seize our lands.”

Dozens of religious Zionist rabbinic leaders had backed the operation, calling on the government “to return to the original Zionist path and establish new settlements.”