IDF removes protesters from ruins of West Bank settlement
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IDF removes protesters from ruins of West Bank settlement

Security forces block access to, from Sa-Nur; finish clearing over 200 demonstrators from site evacuated in 2005

IDF forces prepare to remove protesters from the former West Bank settlement of Sa-Nur, July 30, 2015. (Screenshot/Ynet)
IDF forces prepare to remove protesters from the former West Bank settlement of Sa-Nur, July 30, 2015. (Screenshot/Ynet)

Security forces completed the evacuation early Thursday of some 200 protesters from the ruins of the former settlement of Sa-Nur in the northern West Bank.

Several families with young children were mounted on buses without incident. Dozens of teenagers refused to leave, and were forcibly removed by police from the site.

IDF and Border Police forces blocked the area surrounding Sa-Nur prior the operation. The site was declared a closed military zone.

On Tuesday, protesters took up positions in an abandoned British fort at the site to mark 10 years since the 2005 Gaza disengagement during which Jewish residents were also forcibly evacuated from four settlements in the northern West Bank, including Sa-Nur.

Protesters argue with Border Police forces charged with clearing them from the former West Bank settlement of Sa-Nur, where some 200 demonstrators were occupying the ruins of the settlement evacuated in 2005. Screenshot/Ynet)
Protesters argue with Border Police forces charged with clearing them from the former West Bank settlement of Sa-Nur, where some 200 demonstrators were occupying the ruins of the settlement evacuated in 2005. Screenshot/Ynet)

The settlements of Kadim, Ganim, and Homesh were also cleared out at the time, along with the larger Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip.

The IDF warned it would forcibly remove the protesters.

Among those who took part in the reoccupation of the settlement were families who were evacuated in 2005 as well as rabbis, public figures, and MK Bezalel Smotrich from the nationalist Jewish Home party.

The protesters, who came equipped for a long stay, stole into Sa-Nur, which is off-limits to Israeli citizens, during an overnight hike that set out from another settlement in the area. They entered the abandoned fort and settled down for what they said was the long term.

Two hours after the protesters entered Sa-Nur an IDF patrol arrived and warned them that they must leave, but the demonstrators refused to budge.

The Yesha Council of West Bank settlements said in a statement that it welcomes the “reestablishment of the Sa-Nur settlement” 10 years after what it termed “the terrible mistake and crime of the expulsion.”

“The Yesha Council calls on the government to enable a renewal of the Jewish settlement in Sa-Nur and the northern Samaria,” the council said. “These days are a test of the Israeli government’s moral strength to implement a national policy of construction and development, and to establish the banner of settlement as an important mission for the younger generation.”

The protest came ten years after the Sa-Nur settlement was cleared of its 40 families as part of the much larger Gaza disengagement plan, which saw over 8,000 Jewish residents of settlements in the coastal enclave evacuated by the IDF.

Under then-prime minister Ariel Sharon, Israel evacuated the 21 Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip in August 2005 and handed over control of the enclave to the Palestinians.

Settlers have attempted to reestablish the Sa-Nur and other evacuated West Bank settlements in the past, including in 2008, when some thousand people converged on Homesh and dozens more at Sa-Nur in a short-lived attempt to rebuild.

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