JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli security forces forcibly removed more than 200 protesters who had been living on the site of an evacuated West Bank settlement.
Border Police officers early Thursday morning entered Sa-Nur in the northern West Bank and removed the squatters, including teenagers and families with small children, from an old British fort located in the former village.
The protesters, including families that were evicted from the settlement during the 2005 disengagement from Gaza and four West Bank settlements, had entered the site early Tuesday morning with supplies and announced they were planning to remain. The area is a closed military zone.
The Israel Defense Forces warned the protesters that they would be forcibly removed if they did not leave voluntarily.
Among those staying with the protesters were Jewish Home party lawmakers Aryeh Eldad and Bezalel Smotrich.
“A decade ago we were banished from Sa-Nur and the settlements of the northern Samaria, and with God’s will we returned home two days ago,” the protesters wrote in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Ynet reported. “Our stay here over the past two days proves that it is possible [to return].”
Two Border Police officers reportedly refused orders to evacuate the squatters.