Settlers Clash With Troops Razing West Bank Homes

Security forces clashed with some 100 young protesters during an attempt to demolish a house in the West Bank settlement of Hashmonaim yesterday.

The troops arrived in the settlement in the early morning and succeeded in razing two illegally built structures, but faced enormous opposition before they were able to demolish the third.

The owners of the three-story building in question had apparently invested some NIS 2 million in the property.

They tried to show the security forces proof that the house had been built legally, but to no avail.

Family members then barricaded themselves inside the building for several hours, until the troops eventually evacuated them by force.

Earlier this week, six settlers and three Israel Defense Forces soldiers were lightly injured during clashes that erupted when troops arrived to dismantle a synagogue at the illegal West Bank outpost of West Tapuah. Seventeen settlers were arrested in the scuffle, including a woman who pushed an IDF soldier off the roof of the building.

But those troops made no attempt to remove the adjacent trailer homes, bringing accusations that the government is not serious about meeting American demands to dismantle dozens of unauthorized outposts.

The Palestinian Authority has repeatedly said that any attempt by Israel to continue building settlements would kill upcoming peace talks, and has demanded a U.S. guarantee that Israel will abide by a partial construction freeze declared last November.