Thousands of supporters gathered in the Netiv Ha'avot neighborhood near the village of Elazar in Gush Etzion during the night to protest the destruction of 15 houses in the neighborhood that began Tuesday morning according to a Supreme Court order.
Massive security forces arrived at the area during the morning's early hours secure the expulsion and allow continued destruction of the houses. There were some confrontations between boys and young men who crowded the neighborhood. At least three were arrested.
The police said, "At this time, security forces have begun evacuating the 15 houses in the neighborhood of Netiv Ha'avot in Elazar in accordance with the court order, while continuing dialogue with the residents and local leadership to prevent unnecessary friction and confrontation with security forces and to allow proper execution of the task imposed on the forces."
Last night thousands of people gathered in the neighborhood and took part in a large protest rally against the destruction expected today. Religious Zionist rabbis, including Rabbi Chaim Druckman, Rabbi Yaakov Medan, Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett, Minister Ayelet Shaked, and Gush Etzion Regional Council Chairman Shlomo Ne'eman participated in the rally.
Ne'eman said at the rally, "Families are about to sacrifice their homes on the altar of the rule of law, a law that has no law, has no justice, no morality, no values; a law that states that a Jew who built a house on his land must get up and go because of a violent attack by organizations that aim to throw us out of here.
"I have news for them: this land is ours, these stones are ours, these thorns are ours; also the worms. Upon them we will build not 15 or 150, but 400 houses, and that's only the beginning.
"We're here to support and make sure that the government's promises to build in the area will be realized soon," he said, "We're here for our people and for the cities of our G-d."
Jewish Home Chairman Education Minister Naftali Bennett declared that "whoever wants to demolish 15 homes will get 350 houses on this hill with G-d's help. We're in a difficult evening, residents of the Netiv Ha'avot neighborhood and anyone interested in settling in Israel can't understand. There's no other word except absurd.
"A girl asked me a minute ago why this was happening and I didn't know what to answer. There's no answer, no reason, and no logic. Sometimes the Supreme Court is quite a human rights activist, but when it comes to the rights of the residents here, the Court suddenly becomes passive," added Bennett.
"Unfortunately, tomorrow the houses will be evacuated and at the same time we've already established the continuation of the neighborhood and the entire campaign will be crowned with success when the Prime Minister's promise is fulfilled in full and a huge neighborhood will be built on this hill. Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria will be an integral part of the State of Israel," Bennett concluded.
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said "tomorrow will be a completely unnecessary evacuation, stemming from a serious mistake: It began with a mistaken state response that was given a few years ago - that we fixed fundamentally. The good news is that this is where it ends. In the last three years, we've changed the discourse: Instead of asking 'when to evacuate', today we ask how to regulate.
"We're building dozens of homes for every house that we evacuate, and tomorrow we'll inaugurate the new neighborhood. We're in the process of approving hundreds of housing units, and we're all going to say to the extreme Left organizations: Thank you for helping to build the settlements in Judea and Samaria. You came intending to curse and ended up bestowing blessing. From these ruins we go forward to build and promote construction of hundreds of housing units - this is our message from this day," Minister Shaked said.