Israeli Forces Raze Structure in Illegal West Bank Outpost

Dozens of youths were trying to prevent the court-ordered demolition of an illegally erected carpentry workshop

Security forces carry out a protester from the illegally erected carpentry workshop at the Nativ Ha'avot outpost in the West Bank, November 29, 2017.
Emil Salman

Israeli security forces on Wednesday evacuated and demolished a structure in an illegal West Bank outpost. Dozens of young people tried to prevent the court-ordered demolition.

A March 2018 demolition deadline is approaching for the remaining 15 buildings in the Netiv Ha’avot outpost near the settlement of Elazar, south of Jerusalem.

No violence has been reported between the settlers, who are mostly in their teens, and the roughly 100 soldiers and Border Police on site. The evacuation of the structure, a carpentry workshop, was relatively quietly, with security forces frog-marching the protesters out of the area one by one. Protesters had barricaded themselves inside the carpentry workshop overnight. By morning hundreds of people were there.

Border Police and residents of Netiv Ha’avot and their supporters gather outside of the carpentry workshop, November 29, 2017.

According to social media, members of extreme right-wing circles who would normally have participated in such events were boycotting the Netiv Ha'avot protest because it is too "establishment" and does not enable violence.

In contrast, the most extreme, violence-prone members of the so-called Hilltop Youth were present at the evacuation of the illegal outpost of Amona, where some of them attacked security forces.

The houses earmarked for demolition in Netiv Ha'avot

In September 2016 the High Court ordered the demolition of all 17 structures in the Netiv Ha’avot, which were all built wholly or partially on Palestinian-owned land. One of the structures, a monument to Israel Defense Forces soldiers killed in Lebanon, was already razed and has been rebuilt nearby.

Residents of the outpost had asked the High Court to waive the demolition orders entirely for six buildings that were built partially on state land and partially on land owned by Palestinians. The court refused, saying it deemed them illegal construction.

Border Police gather at Netiv Ha'avot ahead of the evacuation and demolition of the carpentry workshop there, November 29, 2017.

In issuing the order, however, then-Supreme Court President Justice Miriam Naor, left open the possibility that temporary construction permits could be issued that would spare the portions of the six structures that are on state land.

On Tuesday it was reported that Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit is considering only partial demolishion in the cases of the six homes. 

Aside from the carpentry shop, 15 residential homes – not prefab ones, but houses built of stone – are also slated for demolition.