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Last Update: 10/06/2003 16:27
Settlers rebuild dismantled Amona outpost
By Nadav Shragai and Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondents, Haaretz Service and
Settlers rebuilt the illegal outpost of Amona North
on Tuesday morning, after the Israel Defense
Forces dismantled it on Monday, and vowed to
rebuild other outposts evacuated by the army
A total of 10 outposts were
removed overnight. Defense
Minister Shaul Mofaz told
settler leaders Monday that 15
would be dismantled.
Hundreds of settlers blocked the
army's path Tuesday morning to
the flashpoint Gilad Farm, one
of four populated outposts that
had been slated for removal Tuesday along with
one unpopulated site.
The Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining
order forbidding the state from demolishing Gilad
Farm. The petition, to which the government must
submit a response by 2 P.M., presents documents
in a bid to prove that members of Zar family, who
live at the site, legally own the land and live
their under official authorization.
Hundreds of rightists, many of them yeshiva
students from Jerusalem, converged on Beit El
Mizrach Tuesday morning in an effort to prevent
soldiers from evacuating the site.
Some 150 settlers also arrived at the Yitzhar
outpost, south of the mother settlement, and set
up roadblocks early Tuesday afternoon on the path
leading to the outpost. They said they planned to
use non-violent means to oppose the evacuation of
The 10 outposts levelled on Monday night and
Tuesday were all unpopulated. Five inhabited
outposts were to have been cleared Tuesday: Beit
El Mizrach, Nofei Nehemia, "693," next to
Yitzhar, Sh'vei Shomron to the west, and Gilad
Farm - which has been evacuated four times in the
past, most recently in October 2002, when it was
the site of violent clashes between settlers and
The IDF evacuation effort, dubbed Operation Naked
Hilltop, could last for several days.
On Monday and overnight, evacuations had proceded
without any major incidents, but hundreds of
settlers - including many children - came to the
West Bank outpost of Amona, northeast of
Ramallah, and attempted to prevent the movement
of military forces and formed a human blockade to
prevent IDF trucks from moving.
Settler leaders have expressed severe opposition
to the evacuation, and the National Religious
Party and National Union have called an
additional massive evacuation of inhabited
outposts a "red line" that would compel them to
leave the government.
The Yesha Council, which represents settlers in
the West Bank and Gaza Strip, said Monday night
that five outposts will go up for every one
removed. The Yesha rabbinical council called on
the public to flock to outposts scheduled for
evacuation to protest the move, and called on
security forces to reconsider the morality of the
directives they received. They fell short of
telling soldiers to disobey army orders to
The West Bank outposts where troops removed
several empty trailers and other structures
included South Neveh Erez, east of Ramallah;
Shaharit, which is located next to the Ariel
settlement; and Neve Menachem, next to Karnei
Shomron. A guard tower was also removed from
North Amona, next to the settlement of Ofra,
northeast of Ramallah.
The move was hailed by Washington. But Palestinian
officials greeted it with derision. "This is a
theatrical and insignificant step," said Nabil
Abu Rdainah, a top aide to Palestinian Authority
Chairman Yasser Arafat.
Industry and Trade Minister Ehud Olmert (Likud)
told Army Radio on Tuesday that he didn't
understand what all the fuss was about.
Those who object to the evacuations "are becoming
excessively hysterical," he said. "We're talking
about places that are mostly unpopulated, so
what's all this drama?"
The army said that many valuable lessons were
learned from such evacuation operations in the
past, and that this time the IDF is dismantling
several outposts simultaneously in different
areas, in order to prevent thousands of settlers
from gathering at every site to be cleared.
"We will do everything we can to torpedo,
obstruct, and to prolong this step," said Yesha
Council spokesman Yehoshua Mor-Yosef on Monday.
He said the prime minister was "cynically and
manipulatively" exploiting settlers in an effort
to place them in conflict with the IDF.