Security forces razed a dozen makeshift buildings at a pair of neighboring central West Bank outposts on Monday morning, detaining 13 hilltop youth residents of the wildcat communities who clashed with troops during the demolitions, according to a legal aid organization representing them.
The order to flatten six illegal structures in Maoz Esther and another six in Baladim — both next to the Kochav Hashahar settlement — appeared to be the first signed off on by Benny Gantz since he took over as defense minister last month.
“Enforcement activities were carried out in accordance with the authority of the Civil Administration and were subject to operational considerations,” a defense official told The Times of Israel.
Both the Baladim and Maoz Esther outposts have been razed and rebuilt several times in recent years, with the former hilltop community known for its particularly extremist residents, who have been involved in violent attacks against IDF soldiers and neighboring Palestinians.
The Honenu legal aid organization said in a statement that Border Police operating at the scene used excessive force to remove the five families living in the two outposts from their homes.
Honenu’s Nati Rom said the forces handcuffed the residents and left them sitting in the sun for several hours by the time he arrived.
The demolitions come nearly two months after similar razings were carried out in several outposts outside the northern West Bank’s Yitzhar settlement.