(June 17, 2018 / JNS) Hundreds of policemen and soldiers evacuated protesters from 10 buildings in Tapuach West in Samaria on Sunday, which will be demolished by order of Israel’s Supreme Court.
The homes were peacefully evacuated by the residents.
However, more than 40 Israeli minors, among the thousand who arrived to protest the expulsion and destruction in the outlying neighborhood in Kfar Tapuach, were detained by security forces on Saturday night and taken to the nearby community of Ofra, where they were released without being interrogated. Additional youths who took up positions at intersections on the way to the community were detained and also released.
One 15-year-old minor who was arrested after a scuffle with police told the Honenu legal organization that police threatened to taser him. He was interrogated and released to five days of house arrest.
The move comes just days after the controversial evacuation and demolition of another 15 Jewish homes by order of the Supreme Court in the Judea community of Netiv Ha’avot.
In February 2017, the Supreme Court ordered the Tapuach West buildings torn down after accepting the prosecution’s argument that the land belonged to Palestinians living in the nearby town of Yasuf.
The state did not oppose the demolition, but asked that an additional 18 structures be saved due to their location on “state land,” which the government intends to legalize.
Many of the structures slated to be destroyed were taken down by residents.
The head of the Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, appealed Sunday to Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman not to demolish the homes. “I am sure that this morning, too, you regret the demolition of another settlement in the Land of Israel,” wrote Dagan.
Some families in Tapuach West blamed Dagan for encouraging the residents not to start a public campaign to save their neighborhood, on assurances that the community would be legalized.
Others said they believe the Samaria regional council and Kfar Tapuach wanted to free up the land for dozens of more tightly spaced new homes.
In a message obtained by The Times of Israel, the Kfar Tapuach secretariat told residents: “For the benefit of the settlement movement, it is very important that the evacuation that will pass quietly and peacefully without the desecration of God.”
However, 11 policemen and five protesters were hurt in clashes over the structures, with some 20 youth reportedly throwing objects at police. Almost all the injuries were light, requiring little in the way of medical treatment.
Six people were arrested for violence and assaulting officers.
For their part, demonstrators reported that officers used excessive force in dispersing the crowd, which was largely comprised of minors. There was one report of a minor being denied medical attention despite suffering a serious head injury.