Beit El East Outpost Comes Down - and Moves to Mount Artis

Beit El residents yesterday began to dismantle the Beit El East outpost (Tel Haim) in accordance with a compromise reached with the Israel Defense Forces. Under the agreement, caravans at Beit El East will be moved to an outpost on Mount Artis, located next to Beit El.

Settlers waged a long battle for Beit El East, both in the High Court of Justice and on the ground. At one stage more than 1,000 supporters came to Beit El over a three-day period, creating a deterrent for dismantling outposts and delaying the evacuation of the site by the IDF.

Settlers acceded to the outpost's dismantling after it became apparent that they could not obtain the legal authorization needed to stay. It also emerged that the site was located on the edge of an IDF firing range. The outpost at Mount Artis, which has been supported by the defense establishment since its inception, already has some 20 caravans.

The compromise agreement was initiated by MK Uri Ariel (National Union), the former secretary general of Yesha Council of Jewish settlements and head of the Beit El local council.

Fighting continued yesterday between settlers and soldiers at the Giborim (Heroes) outpost, located between Kiryat Arba and Hebron, where settlers returned Sunday night.

Giborim was founded some eight months ago following a terror attack in which 12 soldiers and Kiryat Arba security force members were killed. Since the evacuation of the outpost about a month later, settlers have attempted to return from time to time.