Outpost Evacuation
Outpost Evacuation Israel news photo: (file)

On Sunday morning, the police said they have plans to take down 11 buildings in Judea and Samaria. The announcement came less than a week after Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned he would take down 23 outposts.

Israel is demonstrating a will to meet the U.S. demands [to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria],” Barak said last week after meeting with U.S. envoy George Mitchell in London. The only concrete step the Defense Minister mentioned was “evacuating 23 outposts over the next few weeks and months.”

The police did not take long to implement Barak’s policy in the field, and sent a letter to Samaria Council head Gershon Mesika warning him to take down 11 unauthorized buildings in several communities by Sunday, after which the police would do so themselves.

The 11 buildings are structures built in existing communities and outposts including Yitzhar, Havat Gilad, Har Bracha, Havot Yair, Itamar, and Mevo Dotan. In some cases, the buildings are nothing more than a ritual bath or a man-made pool, but in others they are residences.

“Ever since this government was established, the situation on the ground in Judea and Samaria has only gotten worse,” said Yossi Dagan, spokesman for the Samaria Council. “The Defense Ministry led by Ehud Barak is acting like an extension of the U.S. State Department and has not ceased to chase after the communities in Judea and Samaria and their residents.”

Activists on the ground report that the police have formed a new unit to deal exclusively with evacuations in Judea and Samaria. The force, which is composed of Border Guard police officers, regular police officers, elite police forces, and mounted units, recently trained for evacuation scenarios in the IDF Adam facility near Modi’in.

“The police are planning on starting with these 11 small sites in existing communities and then moving on to bigger evacuations,” said Akiva HaCohen, a Samaria activist. “This new unit has nothing to do with defense and nothing to do with terror. It was created exclusively to destroy Jewish sites in Judea and Samaria.”

MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) condemned the police’s decision to destroy structures in Judea and Samaria. “The police should focus first on the thousands of illegal Arab structures in the Negev and the Galilee,” he said on Army Radio. “I call on every family in Judea and Samaria to have another child this year,” he said, “and in 50 years there will be 1,000,000 people in Yesha.”