4 police officers hurt in evacuation of West Bank outpost


JERUSALEM (JTA) — At least four police officers were injured as Israeli security forces evacuated 15 homes in a West Bank outpost built all or in part on Palestinian-owned land.

Some protesters threw rocks, bottles and paint balls at security forces in Tuesday’s evacuation of the Netiv Haavot outpost, located 11 miles south of Jerusalem in the Etzion bloc. Approximately 2,500 officers were used for the evacuation, which took nearly 10 hours to empty of demonstrators — hundreds of mostly teenagers from other Etzion bloc communities.

The houses are slated for demolition on Thursday.

Israel’s Supreme Court first ordered the demolition nearly two years ago following a petition filed by the left-wing Peace Now organization along with several Palestinians who claim ownership of the land. Homeowners said they thought they had built their homes on state-owned lands.

The evacuation and demolition has been subject to several delays and extensions since the original ruling. In February, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal to legalize the outpost, which includes 20 other homes built illegally but on state-owned land. The proposal included funds to build a temporary neighborhood for the 15 families whose homes are scheduled to be razed and a building plan for the construction of 350 new housing units.

Tuesday’s evacuation had been delayed by three months in order to complete the construction of the temporary homes.

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