Soldiers deploy near Gaza
Soldiers deploy near GazaFlash 90

IDF troops on Wednesday destroyed several structures and a stone house on a hilltop next to the central Samaria town of Kfar Tapuach – at the same time as the residents of those homes were serving in the IDF, with at least one fighting in Gaza. The Honenu civil rights organization called the demolitions “a sad travesty” that “damages the unity of Israelis at this critical time.”

The hilltop in question is on state land and not owned by Arabs, but is considered an “unauthorized outpost” by the government. Honenu has filed several injunctions in the past to save the houses, but on Wednesday morning, as fighting raged in Gaza, army tractors climbed up the hill and demolished several wooden structures, as well as a stone house that was in the final stages of construction.

The buildings were constructed by several current and former IDF soldiers, residents of Kfar Tapuach who had to fight the IDF establishment for the privilege of serving in the army. The Shabak (Israel Security Service) had recommended against drafting them because of their political views, but the youths were finally allowed to serve, with help from Honenu.

Currently, one of the group is serving in Jenin, another in Hevron, and a third is flying missions for the Israeli Air Force. At least one is on the ground in Gaza, and has not yet been informed that his home has been destroyed.

The group had planned to build a new community, called Mitzpeh Nachshon, which would provide security for other Jewish communities in the region. One of the soldiers, upon hearing of the demolitions, wrote on his Facebook page “thanks to you, our dear government, for destroying my house while I am fighting to defend it.” He added that despite the damage to the structures, the group intended to continue with the project.

IDF troops were accompanied by police, who cleared the area of protestors who had come to protest the actions. At least one youth was arrested. Witnesses said that police hit and injured several protesters, who required medical attention.

In a statement, Honenu said that “It is sad that during a period when Israelis are unified in backing the IDF against terrorism from Gaza and other parts of the country, the army and police would use precious resources to act against residents. The absurdity is even greater when the houses being destroyed belong to soldiers who are fighting Israel's enemies. This is not the treatment they deserve,” the group said.