Israel Clears Illegal West Bank Outpost Near Settlement of Yitzhar

Kumi Ori outpost is a closed military zone, settlers have refused to stay away from the area and have confronted IDF soldiers and Border Police a number of times

Hagar Shezaf
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Security forces at the illegal outpost of Kumi Ori, April 22, 2020
Security forces at the illegal outpost of Kumi Ori, April 22, 2020
Hagar Shezaf

A large force of Border Police, Police and Civil Administration forces demolished six temporary structures Wednesday morning at the illegal outpost of Kumi Ori, adjacent to the Yizhar settlement in the West Bank.

Three of the buildings were being used for residential purposes. Two of the buildings lie in Area B, which is under Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control. One of those two buildings is the home of far-right activist Neria Zarug, who was arrested during the demolition. In November, Zarug was arrested for violating an administrative order barring him from entering the West Bank.

The settlers at Yitzhar, said "We avidly condemn the demolition of family homes as a governmental 'price tag' attack,'" referring to acts of retribution, usually commited by settlers against Palestinians following terrorist attacks, "especially during the coronavirus epidemic."

"We expect residents to act responsibly and without violence," security forces said. "Any attempt to harm the forces that came to enforce the law will be met with a strong and uncompromising response. The goal is enforcement and not arrests, but we will not hesitate to arrest anyone who acts violently or incites against the forces," security forces added. Two settlers were arrested during the course of the demolition.

Settlers have refused to abide by orders to stay away from the area and have confronted IDF soldiers and Border Police both overtly and covertly a number of times. Yitzhar has a reputation of being one of the most radical and violent Israeli settlements in the West Bank. 

The outpost has been declared a closed military zone for about six months, and over the years the security forces demolished buildings there more than ten times. In January, the Border Police and Civil Administration tore down two illegal buildings in the town. 

Last month, Molotov cocktails were thrown at a military vehicle that was transporting soldiers to the outpost in an incident that security forces attributed to local Israeli extremists and dubbed an "act of terrorism." 

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