Jewish Extremist Arrested for Allegedly Planning to Disrupt Israeli Settlement Homes' Demolition

The right-wing Honenu group criticized the police for arresting the 20-year-old suspect over what the organization described as suspicions that he might have a future intention to disrupt police activity in the settlement.

A street in the settlement of Ofra.
Baz Ratner / Reuters

Police in the West Bank have arrested a Jerusalem resident on allegations that he planned to disrupt the court-ordered demolition on March 5 of nine homes in the settlement of Ofra. A court has ruled were built on privately owned Palestinian land.

Police said the suspect, who is about 20, was detained for questioning following intelligence information regarding his alleged plans, and was then formally arrested after he refused to sign an agreement limiting his freedom of action. Police made his consent to the limitations, which would have included staying away from Ofra, as a condition of his release. The police will now ask the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court to impose conditions by order of a judge.

The right-wing Honenu organization, which is representing the suspect, said that he was questioned over suspicions that he intended to interfere with the work of the police, and was told that, as a condition of his release, he had to deposit 1,000 shekels ($270) and commit not to go to Ofra for a period of 15 days.

Honenu, whose website describes its work as providing legal assistance to “soldiers and civilians who find themselves in legal entanglements due to defending themselves against Arab aggression, or due to their love for Israel,” called the conditions that the police sought to impose “a step appropriate for thought police.”

The organization took the police to task for arresting the suspect for Honenu described as “suspicion of future intent to perhaps break the law,” adding that at its core, the offense involved exercising “freedom of expression and protest.”

In a related development yesterday, the Border Police said they evicted a number of right-wing activists who had holed themselves up in one of the nine homes in Ofra that are slated for demolition next month. It was the only home not yet inhabited by settlers.