Razing of outpost buildings sparks clashes

JERUSALEM (JTA) — West Bank settlers clashed with Israeli Police officers following the destruction of wooden structures that served as homes on an outpost near Kiryat Arba.

Police and Civil Administration officials early Thursday morning destroyed at least five wooden structures at the Mitzpe Avihai outpost, home to some five families. One of the structures was used as a synagogue.

Kiryat Arba residents threw stones at police cars and officers afterward and were removed forcibly by police, according to Haaretz. Five protesters were injured; four others were arrested.

Settlers also reportedly set fire to nearby Palestinian fields in reaction to the demolitions.

The outpost reportedly has been demolished and rebuilt several times in recent months. 

Similar clashes occurred last week when a home was demolished in the Givat Ronen outpost because it was built in violation of a building freeze in the West Bank.

In a veiled threat of reprisals in a campaign settlers call "price tag," activist Itamar Ben-Gvir told Israeli media at the scene of Thursday’s demolition that "I wouldn’t be surprised if someone attempts to damage mosques because of what happened here."

A mosque in the northern West Bank was torched in December 2009 and the words "price tag" painted on the walls. At least two other northern West Bank mosques have been vandalized in recent months.
 

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