Samaria's New Top Cop Was Once in Charge of Razing Bedouin Homes

Commander Kobi Shabtai, previously in charge of razing homes in Bedouin communities, assumed his duties yesterday as the Samaria district chief of police.

Shabtai formerly served as chief of operations at the police body that enforces laws related to holding land. This is the same body charged with coordinating and carrying out the razing of illegal construction in problematic areas, such as the Bedouin communities in the Negev.

Shabtai's new task will be to handle the extensive illegal construction in Samaria, both in the Jewish and Arab communities.

Last week offered a glimpse into the sort of activity Shabtai will be expected to undertake, when the razing of a home built at the Givat Ronen outpost - contrary to the freeze order on settlement construction - was followed by wide scale disturbances.

Shabtai is replacing Albert Ohayon, who will be appointed commander of the Dan District.

The ceremony for the change of command took place yesterday at the headquarters in Ariel. District commander Hagai Dotan said that, overall, there is good cooperation between police and settlers and "that similar cooperation should also develop with Havat Gilad and Itzhar."

A settler active in settlement construction commented on the appointment, warning that "if they raze here the way they do to the Bedouin, then we have nothing to worry about since they never destroy anything of theirs."