IDF Expels Jewish Extremists From West Bank for Allegedly Attacking Palestinians

Army issues restraining orders to residents of Yitzhar, Havat Gilad, Elon Moreh, and Ramat Migron in overnight raid; MK Ben Ari: Netanyahu hurts settlers more than any previous PM.

The Israel Defense Forces announced the temporary expulsion of 12 right-wing extremists from the West Bank on Thursday over suspicions they orchestrated and executed clandestine violent attacks against Palestinians.

News of the activists’ imminent expulsion came after Haaretz reported on Tuesday that the State Prosecutor's Office intended to indict eight right-wing activists for allegedly tracking IDF activities in the region in the West bank.

Right-wing court - Olivier Fitoussi - 3.1.2012
Olivier Fitoussi

According to police, the eight activists operated an "outpost intelligence HQ," which involved a methodical tracking of IDF movements in the West Bank, meant to disrupt the demolition of illegal outposts.

On Thursday, GOC Central Command Avi Mizrahi ordered that 12 right-wing activists be notified of their temporary expulsion from the West Bank, for periods ranging from 3 to 9 months.

The military acted on information, according to which the youths were allegedly involved in the planning, direction, and execution of secret violent attacks against Palestinians residents of the West Bank as well as against Israelis security forces.

Sources said the information indicated that the activists actions posed a real threat to human life and a disruption of public order and peace.

Warrants notifying the West Bank activists of their imminent expulsion were handed in an overnight operation at the Yitzhar, Havat Gilad, Elon Moreh, and Ramat Migron settlements.

The activists notified of their temporary expulsion from the West Bank were Zvi Sukkot, Eilieze Olami, Yehonatan Drori, Harel Libi, Yaniv Shabtai, Ariel Ben Shushan, Yedidya Zelig, Oded Shapira, David Hass, and Yehuda Yair Melter.

Two others served with restraining orders were minors, one of whom is the son of a known right-wing extremist.

Havat Gilad residents said following the raid it represented “another manifestation of the daily bid to humiliate and abuse Judea and Samaria residents, while harassing their wives and children perpetrated by the defense minister.”

National Union MK Michael Ben Ari criticized the IDF’s actions, wondering why “we haven’t heard restraining orders being issued to leftist hooligans in Bil’in and Na’alin.”

“[Prime Minster Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government is doing more than any other to injure the rights of settlers in Judea and Samaria,” Ben Ari added, calling the expulsion of people not manifestations of a democracy but acts meant to silence.”

Honenu, a NGO that provides right-wing activists and soldiers with legal representation, and which is aiding the expelled extremists, said that Israel “reached a new low in human rights in the West Bank.”

“If there’s a case against these youths then an indictment should be submitted, not out of court measures taken without proof or evidence,” Honenus said, adding that action through warrants was a step “worthy of military regimes in totalitarian countries.”

A statement released by the IDF Spokesman’s Office said that the orders were issued out of a “distinct security need and after all other alternatives were considered,” adding they were meant to preemptively neutralize the security threat these activists posed to the region’s residents.”

Read this article in Hebrew