Last settlers removed from Amona synagogue after putting up 'strong resistance'
Thomas COEX (AFP)
Israeli police on Thursday cleared the last remaining settlers who barricaded themselves inside the community synagogue in the West Bank outpost of Amona, but were met with "strong resistance" in the process.
Over 60 police officers were wounded throughout the eviction operation, law enforcement said.
People attempted to negotiate overnight and into the morning hours of Thursday with an estimated 100 people who were holed up inside the building, urging them to leave voluntarily. After they refused, police entered the building by force to compete the outpost's eviction.
"A short time ago the synagogue was emptied, completing the evacuation of Amona," police Spokeswoman Luba Samri said in a statement. "Police officers acted to remove the last of the reclusive youths in the building and bring them to buses."
"While entering the building the officers were met with strong resistance, particularly violence- including youths throwing stones, fire extinguishers, paint bottles, boards and other objects at the police," the statement continued.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) on Tuesday ordered all residents to evacuate within 48 hours, ahead of the outpost's court mandated demolition by February 8.
Amona, home to about 40 families, was built on lands privately owned by Palestinians, who successfully petitioned Israeli courts for the outpost's removal.
All settlements are considered illegal under international law, but Israel differentiates between those it has approved and those it has not.
Settlements such as Amona are called outposts -- those that Israel has not approved.
She adds that "So far 17 policemen were injured while evacuating the building, in addition to the 24 police officers injured on Wednesday."
"The event is difficult, sad and painful," he said. "Protest and outcry is a legitimate thing, I'm glad the police also understand this and are acting with sensitivity and humanity. I hope that they will continue to do so with the evacuation of the synagogue."
Several dozen people remain barricaded inside the settlement's synagogue and it is unclear when authorities intend to remove them.
Radical right-wing activist Barouch Marzel said to be among those arrested.
“From this legal defeat we will establish a new legal regime in Judea and Samaria that will regulate the entirety of settlements, and from the painful loss of this foothold in this mountain will emerge the State of Israel’s application of sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria,” he said.
The Israeli police will strive to carry out the evacuation without the use of force as is customary, to the extent that violence is not used against police."
"Rape is against the rules of morality and law and cannot be compared to the evacuation of Amona which is the enforcing of the law according to the High Court's ruling," she said.
"The prime minister and his ministers are responsible for what is happening here. They promised us that if there was no solution to Amona they will build a new settlement for us and they have to keep their promise."
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"While entering the building the officers were met with strong resistance, particularly violence- including youths throwing stones, fire extinguishers, paint bottles, boards and other objects at the police," Had these been Palestinian youths several of the stone throwers would have been shot. Should we expect those that threw stones to stand trial for attempted murder?