Hundreds of police deployed to West Bank outpost ahead of evacuation
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Hundreds of police deployed to West Bank outpost ahead of evacuation

Settler youth reportedly throw stones at officers ahead of planned razing of at least 13 structures in West Tapuah, south of Nablus

A picture taken on February 8, 2017 from the Palestinian West Bank village of Yasuf shows the Israeli wildcat outpost of Kfar Tapuah West, located near the settlement of Kfar Tapuah. (AFP Photo/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
A picture taken on February 8, 2017 from the Palestinian West Bank village of Yasuf shows the Israeli wildcat outpost of Kfar Tapuah West, located near the settlement of Kfar Tapuah. (AFP Photo/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

West Bank settlers scuffled with police officers dispatched to an illegal outpost Saturday night ahead of the expected evacuation and razing of over a dozen structures on the hilltop south of Nablus.

Hundreds of police officers were securing the outpost of West Kfar Tapuah Saturday night, where bulldozers are expected in the coming days to carry out the court-ordered demolition of 13 buildings, mostly mobile homes, found to have been constructed on private Palestinian land.

Extremist youth who have gathered at the site to fight the evacuation threw stones at police arriving at the site, according to the Ynet news site. There were no reported arrests.

The evacuation of the outpost is expected to take place sometime early this week, and authorities fear it could be marked by violence.

Security forces detain a settler during the demolition of an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank on September 28, 2017. (Courtesy: Honenu)

The outpost lies adjacent to the settlement of Tapuah, in an area south of Nablus known as a hotspot of extremist settler activity led by a loose-knit network of activists known as the Hilltop Youth.

Previous evacuations in the area have seen violent scuffles between protesters and police.

The expected evacuation comes months after the High Court ruled that 17 of the outpost’s 39 homes were on private Palestinian land and needed to be torn down or moved. The court ruling allowed the state to retroactively legalize the other 18 homes under a controversial new law.

In February 2017, the High Court of Justice sanctioned the razing of 17 buildings in Tapuah West, an agricultural area, that were found to have been built on private land belonging to residents of the nearby Palestinian village of Yasuf.

In its decision, the court accepted the opinion of the state, which did not oppose the demolition of those buildings, but asked that the remaining 18 illegal structures be saved as they are located on parcels considered to be “state land,” which the government plans to legalize.

Four of those buildings in the outpost straddle state land and private land. Their fate is expected to be decided in the coming weeks by the High Court.

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