Ofra evictions: 8 homes evacuated, 8 officers injured

Security forces complete evacuating 8 of 9 homes slated for demolition. 8 officers injured in clashes with protesters. Two arrests.

Arutz Sheva Staff , | updated: 1:44 PM

Protesters barricade themselves in house
Protesters barricade themselves in house
Tzeiri Ofra

Security forces operating in the town of Ofra, north of Jerusalem, have evacuated eight of the nine homes slated for demolition Tuesday afternoon.

Protesters opposing the evictions scuffled with police in and around the nine homes, leaving eight officers lightly injured. Several protesters have been arrested.

The evacuation of nine houses in the Givat Tzvi neighborhood of Ofra commenced just after 9:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, after Border Police officers sealed off access to the homes slated for demolition.

Hundreds of demonstrators faced off against security forces deployed to the town, with some protesters barricading themselves inside houses facing demolition.

Prior to the evacuation, more than 100 Border Police officers deployed around the nine homes slated for demolition in Ofra.

Officers blocked off access to the Givat Tzvi neighborhood, isolating the area ahead of the evacuation. In addition, security forces surrounded each of the nine homes individually, cutting off movement within the neighborhood.

Confrontations between security forces and demonstrators were reported early Tuesday morning ahead of the evacuation.

On Monday, the Supreme Court announced that they rejected the residents’ petition asking not to demolish the nine homes.

The judges did not accept the request of the residents to seal the nine houses rather than demolish them and also clarified that the recently approved Regulation Law does not apply to them.

Last Wednesday the state responded to the Ofra residents’ request that the nine houses not be destroyed but rather sealed.

In its response, the state argued that the Regulation Law does not apply to these nine homes. The state noted that it did not believe there is reason not to destroy the homes and thus its position is that the request should be rejected. MK Smotrich, who drafted the law, believes the opposite is true.

The residents had requested in a separate petition that the courts give them a three month extension to find alternate housing, so they could move "from door to door" in their words. Chief Justice Miriam Naor rejected the request.

The land on which the houses were built has not been claimed by any specific Arab. Jordan claimed sovereignty over Judea and Samaria after conquering the area in 1949 from the fledgling Jewish state to whom it had been granted, but Jordan's claim was recognized only by the UK and Pakistan. Jordan then handed out land, much of it to fictitious owners according to Yehuda Yifrach, head of the legal desk at the Hebrew Makor Rishon newspaper, and some to owners who cannot be located and have never used the land or paid taxes on it.

The homes are in the middle of Ofra, in a populated residential area, so that it is doubtful that an Arab, if one with proofs of ownership appears, would want to build on the land. Compensation for any [as yet unknown] owner, unless mandated by the Israeli government, would put the owner in danger in the PA, where selling land to Jews is punishable by death.

Esther, one of the mothers whose home is to be destroyed today, spoke on Israel's Reshet Bet this morning and said what many Israelis have realized: "The left has little electoral power, as the Israeli voter has abandoned leftist philosophy since the 'disengagement' from Gush Katif, when instead of peace, Israel suffered thousands of rockets launched from Gaza. The left has learned to use the Israeli Supreme Court to achieve its goals."

She stressed: "The Courts did not ask for proof. They did not ask for a landowner or his descendants to claim the land. My home was built with a permit from the regional authority exactly the way other homes are built in Israel. We were even not given a day in court to present our case. The court simply accepted the leftist NGO's claim. This means that Israel's Supreme Court has decided to accept Jordan's sovereignty over the land! And our Prime Minister has had 4 terms to do something about it and has done nothing. I hope he did not sleep last night. I didn't."

Esther has moved out of her home, which she says is empty of her possessions but is still filled with love. However, to prevent trauma to her children, her family has moved to a temporary home in Ofra and intends today, she says, to lay the cornerstone for a larger and even more beautiful, loving home in Ofra.