Israeli forces evacuate small outpost


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli security forces evacuated an illegal outpost.

Police and civil administration forces removed seven metal containers serving as cabins from the Maoz Esther outpost in the West Bank on Thursday morning.

The evacuation came a day after Defense Minister Ehud Barak met with settler leaders and told them that he would evacuate illegal outposts by force if negotiations failed. The outpost’s residents left without resisting.

Some five families and several young people reportedly lived at the site, which is located near the settlement of Kochav Hashachar, northeast of Ramallah.

Some of the settlers, representing the Youth for the Land of Israel movement, reportedly set up a new wooden structure later Thursday and were joined by National Union lawmaker Michael Ben Ari, Ynet reported. 

"The place will be built and even expanded," Binyamin Regional Council head Avi Roeh said following the evacuation.

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer said the evacuation did not go far enough.

"The evacuation of the tiny outpost is a PR stunt and is no substitute for the evacuation of the significant outposts in the territories," he said. "The evacuation of a few tents is no way to seriously deal with illegal construction in the territories."

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