Border cops raze three buildings at illegal northern West Bank outpost

Authorities say three demonstrators detained for assaulting officers in Tapuah West; demolition at site a year ago saw 11 cops injured and six far-right protesters apprehended

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Border Police prepare to demolish a home in the Tapuah West outpost on May 21, 2019. (Border Police)
Border Police prepare to demolish a home in the Tapuah West outpost on May 21, 2019. (Border Police)

Border Police officers razed three illegally constructed buildings at a wildcat outpost in the northern West Bank on Tuesday morning.

A Border Police spokesman said the operation in Tapuah West began smoothly before youth demonstrators arrived to disrupt their work. Three were arrested for assaulting officers, he said.

Last June, police clashed with hundreds of far-right activists who gathered at the same outpost in an effort to obstruct the court-ordered demolition of ten buildings built without the necessary permits. Eleven officers were injured and six settler youth were arrested. However, no charges were filed against them.

A spokeswoman for the Civil Administration — the Defense Ministry body that authorizes construction in the West Bank — said all three buildings being demolished Tuesday were built on the same land where the previous razing had taken place, again without the necessary permits.

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The structures bulldozed included two caravans and a home belonging to a family of nine.

Moshe Herzlich, the owner of that house, told The Times of Israel that he had moved in several months earlier and had not received any demolition notice from authorities — a claim that the Civil Administration spokeswoman flatly denied.

Herzlich said the Samaria Regional Council was responsible for the demolition as it intends to carry out a larger building project on the site, which was being inhibited by his home.

A spokeswoman for the Samaria Regional Council denied the claim, saying it had done everything it could have to prevent the demolition. The chairman for the municipality, Yossi Dagan, released a statement condemning the razing.

“I call upon the government ministers to stop this destruction. On the nearby hills there are hundreds of illegally built Arab homes, yet the government concentrates on a single Jewish home, uprooting it and its inhabitants,” Dagan said.

Far-right youths protest the court-ordered demolition of 10 buildings in the illegal outpost of Tapuah West. (Israel Police)

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