01.02.2017 | 11:52
Senior Israeli minister vows annexation of entire West Bank after 'painful' evacuation of Amona
Habayit Hayehudi chairman and Education Minister Naftali Bennett promised that after the "painful loss" of Amona the annexation of the entire West Bank will follow.
Bennett, speaking at the Knesset, called the Amona settlers "heroes," and said that the bill which legalizes the seizure of private Palestinian land will soon be passed, putting an end to the "method of legal uprooting" of Israeli outposts. "Thanks to the campaign in Amona, thousands of families will be rescued from being evicted from their homes. I call on the pioneers of our generation, the settlers of Judea and Samaria, to lift up your heads," he said.
Political leaders from the right and left, including Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog and party co-leader Tzippi Livni, expressed sympathy for the residents being evacuated from Amona, but reiterated the need to refrain from violence and obey the law.
"My heart is with the residents," said Lieberman, speaking in the settlement of Ariel. "I think that compassion and understanding for their small protest is natural in a democratic country in which protesting is a basic right." The defense minister added that he hoped the protest would remain "within the framework of the law."
A family member of an Israeli settler family pushes a stroller past Israeli policemen during an eviction of residents from the Israeli settler outpost of Amona in West Bank February 1, 2017.
"Despite the pain and despite the rage I expect the rules of the game to be observed," said Lieberman, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party.
Opposition leader Isaac Herzog also expressed understanding for "the pain of the families and the evacuees. It's a hard day. I call on the residents to respect the court decision and not to stray from legitimate non-violent protest," said the leader of the Zionist Union party, warning those in Amona not to raise a hand against police who are simply enforcing the law.
Herzog also urged security forces "to act with restraint and tolerance toward the families and those with them in Amona on this difficult day, and....to do everything to ensure that the evacuation ends without injuries."
Meanwhile Zionist Union co-leader Tzippi Livni said that while the evacuation of a person from his home is difficult and the pain of the families understandable, this should not be depicted as "a black day for Zionism."
"A day in which the sovereign state of Israel enforces the law will never be -- despite claims to the contrary -- a black day for Zionism. And more importantly, this should not turn into a difficult and black day for Israeli police and Israel Defense Forces soldiers," said Livni.
01.02.2017 | 11:41
Chief rabbi urges protesters against violence
Israel's Chief Rabbi David Lau has called on the residents of Amona and those who are staying in the vicinity of the settlement not to act violently against security forces during the evacuation.
"The evacuation of the community and the families living in it evokes sorrow and great pain," said Lau. "However, it is obligatory to respect the law and not to behave violently toward any person, let alone against security forces who spend day and night on behalf of the people of Israel. And so it is up to each and every one to act only in accordance with halakha (Jewish religious law) and the [civil] law.
01.02.2017 | 11:09
Protesters throw stones at police forces pushing into Amona
Protesters are throwing stones at police forces as they started to push into the outpost.
Police said they expect the Amona settlers to be responsible and restrain outside protesters.
"This is a difficult and sad day for the people of Israel," said Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan. "A day the law enforcement authorities are asked to implement a High Court decision ordering the destruction of a community the state helped found, and evacuation of residents from the homes they have been living in for 20 years. Despite the difficulty and the great pain, I urge all those on the hilltop: Let the police and security forces do their jobs.
"I call on Knesset members and leaders to act to quell the tension and to avoid actions or statements that are liable to exacerbate the situation.
"I want to make it clear to all those who came here to demonstrate and to oppose the evacuation that the soldiers and police have been sent there to carry out the mission on behalf of all of us. We will not tolerate any hand raised against a policeman or soldier, or any stone thrown at them.
"I expect the police to use the law against anyone who acts violently against security forces. (Jonathan Lis)
Jewish settlers at the Amona outpost, northeast of Ramallah, on February 1, 2017.
01.02.2017 | 10:39
Evacuation of Amona begins: Large police forces amass outside illegal outpost
Large police forces have pushed into Amona, beginning to evacuate the illegal outpost.
Meanwhile, an Amona family handed a bag of stun grenades and flares to the police. The bag was stashed in their home ahead of the evacuation.
Jewish settlers run from police outside the illegal Amona outpost in the West Bank, February 1, 2017.
01.02.2017 | 10:37
WATCH: Protests in Amona before evacuation
01.02.2017 | 10:16
WATCH: Protesters torch tires in Amona
01.02.2017 | 09:07
Lawmaker compares Amona evacuation to 'brutally raping a woman'
A lawmaker from the rightist Habayit Hayehudi party compared the evacuation of Amona to the rape of woman.
"When someone rapes a woman it hurts. What they're doing here now is a brutal rape. They're going to remove innocent people from their home," Bezalel Smotrich, who arrived at the outpost early Wednesday, told the Ynet news website.
Habayit Hayehudi lawmakers have been exempted from Knesset votes today by the chairman of the ruling coalition due to the evacuation. Apart from Smotrich, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and lawmakers Oren Hazan (Likud) and Shuli Moallem (Habayit Hayehudi) also arrived at the outpost.
A lawmaker from the opposition Zionist Union party strongly criticized Smotrich remark, calling it a "miserable comment which shows absolute loss of moral judgement."
"Rape is against the rules of morality and law and cannot be compared to the evacuation of Amona which is the enforcing of the law according to the High Court's ruling," MK Ayelet Nachmias Verbin said. (Jonathan Lis)
MK Bezalel Smotrich at the illegal Amona outpost in the West Bank, February 1, 2017.
01.02.2017 | 08:54
Security forces to Amona: Leave now or be forcefully removed
Security forces have told residents of the illegal outpost of Amona in the West Bank that they must evacuate now or be forcefully removed.
Hundreds of youths traveled to Amona on Tuesday evening to oppose its imminent evacuation, after the Israeli army ordered residents to leave within 48 hours.
The number of those barricading themselves at the outpost seems to be much lower than the previous time the evacuation seemed forthcoming.
The protesters, who burned tires ahead of an expected confrontation with the
Israeli army and the police, were asked by residents to avoid violence but to "ensure that the evacuation would be very hard."
Amona, built on private Palestinian land, was ordered evacuated by the High Court of Justice in 2014, but dates for its evacuation have been pushed back repeatedly until a final date was set to February 8. On Tuesday, the Israeli army ordered residents to leave the outpost within 48 hours.
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