Deputy Commander Admits: Ramat Gilad Was Slated for Evacuation
The deputy commander of the IDF’s Ephraim Brigade confirmed on Monday that the community of Ramat Gilad had indeed been scheduled to be evacuated the night nationalist youths invaded his base.
The deputy commander, Tzur Harpaz, made the remarks in a conversation with religious high school students in Tel Aviv. His remarks were reported by Channel 2 News on Monday.
“There was the possibility that night that forces, not military ones but police and Border Guard forces, were supposed to evacuate the illegal community Ramat Gilad, and in light of that decision all sorts of rumors were floating around,” Harpaz said.
“Eventually,” he added, “some of the settlers, a small group and I would even say a marginal group, decided to carry out the riots against the military and against the military commanders.”
Harpaz said that “between 300 and 500 people came to Ramat Gilad, threw rocks, blocked the road to Arab cars and to military vehicles, stoned my commander’s car, and even opened the door of his jeep and threw a stone inside. He was lucky they didn’t hit him. Then they came to the base itself and rioted there. There were about forty youths who raided the base.”
Police reinforcements helped chase the youth from the base while carrying out several arrests. The riots were largely blamed on youth from Judea and Samaria, but a police investigation into found last week that the culprits were students from the Mercaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem.
It was subsequently reported that a deal had been worked out to legalize Ramat Gilad and prevent any future attempts at demolition.
The report said five buildings slated for demolition would be moved several dozen meters, off land that Arabs dispute.
In return for moving the buildings, the state has agreed authorize the area as part of the city plan of Karnei Shomron, effectively turning the area into a new neighborhood for the town.