Clashes broke out in the town of Beit El in the Binyamin region on Monday night, as police forces in large numbers arrived in preparation for the demolition of the Draynoff Homes, which the High Court had ordered to be demolished.
Dozens of youths gathered in the area in an attempt to prevent the evacuation of the buildings.
At least 50 people were arrested, according to the Honenu legal aid organization.
The police, said the Beit El Council, sprayed pepper gas into a room where some of the protesters were staying, causing some of them suffocation. Pepper gas causes irritation to eyes as well as difficulty breathing, coughing, and infections.
Following an hour of violent clashes, the security forces took over of the buildings slated for demolition and no further incidents were reported.
The IDF Spokesman announced following the incident that in order to prepare for the evacuation and demolition of the Draynoff Homes, it was decided to place a unit of Border Police officers in the complex.
“Security forces are working to maintain law and order in the area and are ready for government instructions,” the statement said.
MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home) condemned the demolition, telling Arutz Sheva that it was ordered by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and hinting that the demolition would harm the coalition.
The chairman of the Yesha Council, Avi Ro’eh, said in response, “It is outrageous and regrettable that the Prime Minister and Defense Minister, the architects of the strangling of the settlement enterprise, did not allow to exhaust the legal proceedings and turned into contractors of leftist policies. We urge the Prime Minister to prevent the demolition of the houses that currently are valid under the law.”
The High Court on Sunday yet again sought to put a halt to plans to prevent the demolition of the homes, issuing an injunction against any construction work that would result from the removal of objections to the project by a planning council.
Supporters had hoped that the change could lead to a new legal status for the buildings. Previously, the High Court had ordered the buildings to be demolished because they were built without approval of planning councils. The decision last week was set to pave the way for the issuance of retroactive building permits for the project.
Nevertheless, the demolition in the dead of night is surprising because over the last few days, progress had been made in legalizing the area for construction.
The arrival of the police forces came just hours after Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home) visited Beit El, and told residents of the efforts the state was making to legalize the homes in accordance with the High Court ruling.
Shaked told the residents that the state's response to the High Court, which has yet to be written, would be that demolishing the Draynoff Homes would be pointless.
"I met with the residents and assured them that various government ministers are working directly and indirectly to care for the welfare of Jewish settlement throughout the country," she said following the meeting.
“In order to make sure incidents do not recur we have established the regulatory committee, which will begin operations next week and aims to legalize the construction in Judea and Samaria so that no Jew will be forced to leave his home,” added Shaked.
Meanwhile, the Beit El Local Council is preparing to file a petition to the High Court on Tuesday morning, in response to one filed by extreme leftist groups, hoping that the Court would decide to order the cancellation of the demolitions.
US President Barack Obama said during a speech to the African Union on Tuesday that he had been a "pretty good" president, and that he would have been able to win a third term - if only the law allowed him to.
While speaking about the need for African leaders to step aside when their terms end so as to maintain democracy, Obama jokingly - or not - said, "now, let me be honest with you. I do not understand this. I am in my second term. It has been an extraordinary privilege for me to serve as the President of the United States. I cannot imagine a greater honor or a more interesting job."
"I love my work. But under our Constitution, I cannot run again," he said with a laugh in his voice, indicating how he would like to run again, to which the crowd cheered.
"I actually think I’m a pretty good president," Obama continued. "I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t. So there’s a lot that I’d like to do to keep America moving, but the law is the law."
Despite his rosy appraisal of his own presidency, critics would likely beg to differ over his "pretty good" rating. He has been chiefly criticized for forcing through his "Obamacare" health care plan, and similarly moving to force through a nuclear deal with Iran that would let the leading state sponsor of terror inspect its own covert nuclear facilities.
Obama has admitted the deal will allow Iran to be able to achieve a nuclear weapon in just a few years, and likewise admitted the hundreds of billions of dollars in sanctions relief from it will fund Iran's terror activities, but has threatened to veto Congressional opposition.
On another front, he has admitted to not having a "complete strategy" to fight Islamic State (ISIS), and critics warn he has knowingly let Russia eclipse the US by weakening America militarily and advocating a more reserved global approach encapsulated in his infamous "leading from behind" remark.
As for his claims about being able to win a third term, a Rasmussen Reports daily poll from Monday shows just 46% approve of Obama's performance, whereas 53% disapprove. Tellingly, only 26% strongly approve of Obama's performance, whereas a full 40% strongly disapprove.
A Gallup poll shows that Obama's approval rating term average from January 2009 to the present is at 47% - the total average for all American presidents since 1938 is at 53%, showing how he has fallen short of the mark.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he does not want to tear down the Draynoff compound in Beit El. “We are working to strengthen the settlement enterprise, and doing so while obeying the law,” he said.
Meanwhile, however, actions on the ground indicate that security forces are preparing for demolition of the homes, pending a High Court decision. Border Police seized control of the compound overnight and evicted dozens of youths who had been squatting inside.
"Our position on the homes in Beit El is clear,” Netanyahu stated. “We oppose their demolition and are taking legal action to prevent this step. I will request that the government's position, according to which the planning process at the location has ended, and there is no reason, therefore, to raze the homes, will also be brought before the High Court.”
The Prime Minister's Office said that Netanyahu spoke with the Attorney General again about the matter Tuesday morning.
A senior security source told Arutz Sheva that since the IDF Civil Administration approved the construction of 24 housing units at the location last week, and since residents had filed a High Court motion against the demolition, the demolition will be carried out if the High Court says so.
"We are still inside the legal process,” he said.
Police closed off entry to the road that leads to Beit El, in the Binyamin region north of Jerusalem, Tuesday morning. While Arabs may pass the roadblock at Givat Assaf, Jews who do not live in Beit El may not.
Heavy machinery has been parked at the Beit El junction – apparently awaiting the green light to begin demolition of the contested Draynoff houses.
Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett and other ministers from Likud and Yisrael Beytenu called on Netanyahu to prevent the demolitions.
Dozens of families and hundreds of activists returned Tuesday before dawn to the ruins of Sa-Nur, one of four towns in northern Samaria torn down in the Disengagement of 2005, to mark a decade since their expulsion.
The IDF told the residents Tuesday that if they do not leave the location independently, they will be evicted by force.
The IDF appeared to have been surprised by the large-scale operation, which was carried out under cover of the dark. Officers who arrived on the scene asked the activists how they had arrived.
Among the activists were MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home), and ex-MK Aryeh Eldad.
Police arrested a 26 year-old Jewish Israeli on the Temple Mount on Tuesday, after he stated "Mohammed is a pig."
The suspect tried to flee and was arrested by police officers, the Israel Police stated.
Today he will be brought to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.
This marks the third arrest over insults to the deceased initiator of Islam on or near the Mount, after police arrested another young Israeli for similar remarks on Monday.
20-year-old Avia Morris was arrested last Friday for saying "Mohammed is pig" after she faced hostile Arab women hurling threats at her on the Temple Mount - including death threats. She revealed to the press on Sunday that the police were unwilling to intervene to protect her until she had uttered the remarks.
In making the arrest Monday, police said they would not allow provocations and disturbances to public order by both Jews and Muslims at the site. However, in the case of Morris, she and other Jews were arrested while the Muslim women who provoked the standoff by surrounding the Jews and shouting "Itbach al-Yahud" (slaughter the Jews) were not arrested.
Morris has since noted that she has "no regrets" over the statement, as it prompted the police to act.
Since then, however, she has been the subject of endless harassment from Arabs on social media, and she noted Monday that the Israel Police have been unwilling to accept her complaints.
"It's funny,” she observed, “that they were able to file the complaint against me in a matter of seconds, but they don't care that a complaint about death threats will be delayed by a week, with all that the delay involves... I have to wait with the threats upon my life and all of the incitement against me on social networks, by thousands of Muslims, because of a small bureaucratic matter.”
International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Monday appealed a recent ruling by a special panel of judges that she must reconsider her previous decision not to investigate alleged war crimes committed by IDF troops when they boarded the Mavi Marmara ship in May 2010, Haaretz reported.
In an unusual move, the ICC judges on July 16 decided to investigate the previously closed case in which ten protesters who attacked IDF soldiers with lethal weapons were killed and Israeli troops were wounded.
The judges called to "recheck" the decision not to investigate the IDF's naval commando Shayetet 13 storming of the Mavi Marmara, conducted after the flotilla ignored repeated demands to stand down and have Israel deliver its supposed humanitarian goods to Gaza, in defense of Israel's legal maritime blockade of Gaza.
Bensouda, who closed the file on the case seven months ago, wrote in her appeal Monday that the judges’ decision altered the mandate she was given under the Rome Statute that established the ICC, and dramatically expands the scope of issues the court is meant to deal with.
The prosecutor also argued that the special panel found technical errors in her work solely with regard to those decisions it disagreed with. As such, Bensouda said, the judges had exceeded their authority under the Rome Statute, according to Haaretz.
The prosecutor asked the ICC appeals court to overturn the demand to reevaluate her decision not to investigate, and to finally reject the complaint the Comoros Islands had filed in 2013 on the matter. The Mavi Marmara is a Comoros-flagged passenger ship.
The judges’ call to reopen the case was condemned by Israeli officials. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu stressed that "IDF soldiers acted in self defense while stopping an attempt to break a blockade carried out in accordance with international law as determined by the committee appointed by the UN Secretary General, a committee headed by a Supreme Court judge and international observers.”
He condemned the ICC for choosing to single out Israel for cynical political reasons while Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad is massacring tens of thousands of his own people, hundreds are being executed in Iran and Hamas in Gaza uses children as human shields.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon described the decision as “scandalous” and “hypocritical”, adding, "The soldiers followed international law and defended themselves from violence by terrorists. We are fully backing the fighters, and we will fight to the bitter end against any attempt to harm them.”
Similarly, Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid described the ICC as “anti-Semitic” and “hypocritical” in the wake of the decision.
Following the Marmara incident, Israeli authorities found the vessel wasn't carrying any humanitarian aid, indicating how the true goal of the provocative move was to open Gaza to free naval access, which it has consistently used to smuggle in weapons to be targeted against Israel.
Amanda Korody, a Canadian woman found guilty of taking part in a terrorist bomb plot, also wanted to infiltrate a synagogue and kill Jewish children, according to a report in the Western Canadian newspaper, the Times Colonist.
Both Korody and co-defendant, John Nuttall, her husband, are self-described Muslim converts.
Police notes presented in British Columbia (B.C.) Supreme Court on Monday described how Korody's husband John Nuttall told an undercover officer that his wife believed she would be doing Jewish children a favor by sending them to paradise, since she believed "grown-up Jews" go to "eternal hell" when they die.
"I asked Nuttall how he thinks he will have access to Jewish kids and he said they were both white and could pass for Jewish," according to the undercover officer's notes, dated from March 2013.
"They will be regulars in the synagogue. They will gain the trust of everybody. And once they have everything they will get enough guns and ammo to go ahead with their mission."
The Times Colonist added that Nuttall acknowledged that Jewish children were non-combatants but explained that their killing was justified since they would be raised to hate Arabs and Muslims. However, he eventually conceded that to the officer that "you never know, they may convert (to Islam) in their adulthood."
Nuttall and Korody were found guilty of plotting to detonate homemade pressure-cooker bombs at the B.C. legislature during Canada Day celebrations in 2013.
Their lawyers argue that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RMCP) entrapped them in an elaborate sting operation.
The court heard that Canada's spy agency informed the RCMP in late 2012 that Nuttall was a possible threat. Police had already confronted him several times by then, once after his friend reported that Nuttall claimed to have shot a Jewish woman.
RCMP Cpl. Stephen Matheson told the court an officer interviewed John Nuttall, but he denied killing anyone.
Matheson told the court about Nuttall's criminal history, listing offenses from kidnapping and robbery to aggravated assault. Nuttall had also been kicked out of various mosques, he added.
According to authorities, Nuttall and Korody both saw themselves as jihadist warriors behind enemy lines, waging holy war against the Western World for its treatment of Muslims.
A very Israeli prank has received half a million views in 12 hours. Assuming most of these viewers are Israeli – this is a huge section of the Israeli population, which numbers roughly 8 million.
As you'd expect from a nice Jewish boy, the prank involves the guy's mother and a hi-tech communications app. It can be viewed by clicking the center of the embedded screen:
In the video, the mother is asking what is going on, and why she keeps receiving messages while the screen of her phone remains black. The son asks her if she has updated the app and says he'll take a look.
The video was uploaded by a Facebook user named Chen Assayag, with a short text saying he hopes his mother will forgive him for the prank. It was picked up by Hatzinor, a popular Facebook page for a Channel 10 TV show that follows social media.
For the uninitiated: the sound being made imitates a default messaging sound featured in smartphones.