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Israeli forces demolish illegal structures at Miztpe Yitzhar

Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, vowed to rebuild the structures, one of which was built in honor of terror victim Rina Shnerb.

Israeli Border Police officers near Yitzhar, where illegal structures were demolished, Aug.12, 2020. Photo by Sraya Diamant/Flash90.
Israeli Border Police officers near Yitzhar, where illegal structures were demolished, Aug.12, 2020. Photo by Sraya Diamant/Flash90.

Israeli security forces on Monday demolished several illegally built structures near Mitzpe Yitzhar in Samaria.

One of the rudimentary structures was constructed in honor of Rina Shnerb, who was killed in a terrorist bombing in August 2019. Her father and brother were seriously wounded in the attack, which occurred while the three were hiking near a natural spring close to the town of Dolev.

According to media reports, some 150 police and Civil Administration personnel took part in the demolition, with a local resident chaining himself to the floor of the residential structure in an attempt to stop the process.

Security officials said that a lookout point at the site near Nablus, established in honor of the late Shnerb, was located in Area B, which falls under Palestinian Authority administrative control and joint P.A. and Israeli security control, per the Oslo Accords. A tent and the residential structure were set up on private Palestinian land in Area C, which is under full Israeli administrative and security control.

“Ever since Rina was murdered, our family’s goal has been to add a little good in the Land of Israel in the face of all the wild evil we have experienced. Dozens of mourners have risen up throughout the country whose only goal is to strengthen our connection to the land,” Rina’s mother, Shira, told 103FM Radio.

“When you destroy a place like this – you strengthen terrorism,” she added.

Israeli security forces also on Monday reportedly demolished the so-called “children’s camp” on the outskirts of the town of Kfar Tapuach in Samaria. The site was reportedly built by local children from the community.

The “children’s camp” that was destroyed by dozens of police officers and Civil Administration personnel, on Sept. 4, 2023, in the town of Kfar Tapuach in Samaria. Photo by Eitan Schweber/TPS.

It marked the third and fourth time the Netanyahu-led government has destroyed an illegal outpost in Judea and Samaria since taking office at the end of last year. The Yitzhar action drew criticism from local residents and from within the ruling coalition.

Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, vowed to rebuild the structures.

“Our law enforcement authorities find the resources to destroy a small observatory built by a youth in honor of a terror victim, while hundreds of illegal Arab homes are being constructed,” noted Dagan, adding: “For shame.”

Likud MK Tali Gottlieb criticized Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who also oversees civilian affairs in Judea and Samaria as a minister in the Defense Ministry.

“What excuse will you give to your constituents who turn to me in many messages about this act? It is your responsibility. Stop this disgrace,” Gottlieb posted to X, formerly Twitter.

Otzma Yehudit MK Limor Son Har-Melech blamed Defense Minister Yoav Gallant for the action, claiming that he is not doing enough to enforce illegal Palestinian construction.

According to the NGO Regavim, there are more than 170 illegal outposts in Area C of Judea and Samaria created by the Palestinian Authority and funded by the European Union.

Earlier this year, the organization presented documentation to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee showing massive illegal Palestinian construction, particularly where Jewish communities were located before being evacuated as part of the 2005 disengagement plan.

The illegal structures have created a land bridge between blocs of P.A.-controlled towns and villages in Area B, thereby undermining the Oslo framework that left the question of territorial contiguity for a negotiated resolution, according to Regavim.

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