IDF to Evacuate 28 Buildings in West Bank Settlements

But the state will also retroactively legitimize three other illegal settlements.

Yuval Tebol

The defense ministry is preparing to demolish 28 structures in three unauthorized settlements in the West Bank in the coming week.

Sixteen families reside in the buildings, which were built on private Palestinian land. The demolition is in compliance with a High Court of Justice ruling. At the same time, the state will retroactively authorize three other illegally built settlements.

All six settlements were marked in 2003 by the Israel Defense Forces as locations where all structures could be demolished. In 2007, Peace Now petitioned the court to instruct the IDF to carry out the demolitions.

In the ruling in November, the Supreme Court harshly criticized the state, saying it regretted that commitments made by the state could not be trusted. The judges ordered the demolition of all buildings erected on private land in the three unauthorized settlements and the sorting out of their status.

In Ramat Gilad, six buildings and a synagogue, built on private land, will be torn down. In Mitzpe Yitzhar, one building was voluntarily demolished last week. In Givat Yosef, where seven buildings are slated for destruction, residents announced they would not leave voluntarily. In Ma’ale Rehavam, 10 structures will be evacuated and the rest of the settlement will be authorized. Settlers there said they would not vacate the buildings voluntarily. Mitzpe Lachish, south of Hebron, will also be authorized.

A spokesman for Ma’ale Rehavam said, “There is a false conception that settlements mean land theft. For some people, this justifies stealing and destroying Jewish land.”