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Israeli MK says police touched her inappropriately during Samaria protest

Otzma Yehudit lawmaker Limor Son Har-Melech said the incident occurred while being physically removed from a demonstration against the razing of a Jewish-owned property in Samaria.

Otzma Yehudit lawmaker Limor Son Har-Melech attempts to block the demolition of a vineyard in the Shiloh Valley by the Civil Administration of the Defense Ministry, Feb. 15, 2023. Credit: Office of Limor Son Har-Melech.
Otzma Yehudit lawmaker Limor Son Har-Melech attempts to block the demolition of a vineyard in the Shiloh Valley by the Civil Administration of the Defense Ministry, Feb. 15, 2023. Credit: Office of Limor Son Har-Melech.

Otzma Yehudit lawmaker Limor Son Har-Melech has claimed that she was touched in an appropriate manner by police when being physically removed from a protest against the razing of a Jewish-owned property in Samaria on Wednesday.

Dozens of demonstrators were reportedly arrested while attempting to halt the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration order that defied instructions by Minister in the Defense Ministry Bezalel Smotrich.

Son Har-Melech was one of two parliamentarians who attempted to prevent security forces from carrying out the demolition.

She told Hebrew-language media that four officers had confronted her and “one of them did something that is completely forbidden,” although she was “ashamed to say what happened.”

The razing was carried out on the authority of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant despite orders from Smotrich, who also serves as finance minister, to freeze the demolition.

Smotrich has been tasked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with overseeing the Civil Administration, which is responsible for approving construction and handling other bureaucratic matters in Area C of Judea and Samaria.

It comes after Gallant last month overruled Smotrich’s call to halt the razing of Or Chaim, an outpost commemorating Rabbi Haim Druckman, the spiritual leader of the religious Zionism movement, who died on Dec. 25. That decision caused friction between Gallant and Smotrich, who in response had his Religious Zionism Party boycott the following Cabinet meeting.

Smotrich reportedly sent a letter to Netanyahu on Wednesday warning him that further delays in transferring to him full authority over the Civil Administration, in accordance with their coalition agreement, could threaten the stability of the government.

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