Israeli forces dismantled the illegal outpost of Ramat Migron in the West Bank overnight Wednesday-Thursday and evacuated settler activists who were living there.
The Civil Administration, which oversees day-to-day management of the West Bank, said that security forces removed illegally built structures erected at the site “in accordance with the authorities and procedures, as well as subject to operational considerations.”
Three families had lived in the outpost along with several youths. The homes of the families were destroyed, along with other structures at the site, settlement activists said on social media.
“We woke up at 4 in the morning to banging at the door. Before we had the chance to find out who it was, ten police officers barged in and told us we need to leave the premise immediately,” one settler was cited as saying.
One report said police had confiscated cellphones from some of the settlers during the operation.
Responding to the reports, far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir of the Religious Zionism party criticized the government for what he called selective enforcement.
“The extreme left-wing government of [Defense Minister Benny] Gantz, [Prime Minister Yair] Lapid and [Interior Minister Ayelet] Shaked continues to act in a racist and discriminatory way toward Jewish settlements,” Ben Gvir said in a statement, adding that the evacuation “proves how much the government is disconnected and destructive to the state from within.”
Religious Zionism MK Orit Strock echoed Ben Gvir’s statement, writing on Twitter: “Hundreds of police officers were taken away from their missions of maintaining road safety, preventing crime, assisting citizens, and were sent to the important national mission of destroying Jewish homes at Ramat Migron,” adding: “No Palestinian structure was damaged tonight.”
The small outpost of Ramat Migron, northeast of Jerusalem, was located just several hundred meters from a former settlement outpost by the same name that was evacuated in 2011. At the time, it was the largest Jewish outpost in the West Bank with a population of over 300.
While the international community considers all settlement activity illegal, Israel differentiates between legal settlement homes built and permitted by the Defense Ministry on land owned by the state, and illegal outposts built without necessary permits, often on private Palestinian land.
Last month, the radical Nachala settler organization sent thousands of activists to seven sites around the West Bank to establish new illegal outposts to pressure the government into allowing greater settlement development and in protest of what settler activists describe as widespread illegal Palestinian construction in Area C of the territory.
The outposts were swiftly dismantled by police and the activists were removed from the encampments. Activists have, however, returned to some of these sites to conduct various activities.