Three arrested in clashes with police during demolition of illegal West Bank outpost

Dozens of demonstrators try to disrupt evacuation of Geulat Zion, damage vehicles; video shows violent tussle between female officer and protester

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Police and protesters clash at the Geulat Zion illegal West Bank outpost, on November 17, 2021. (Twitter)
Police and protesters clash at the Geulat Zion illegal West Bank outpost, on November 17, 2021. (Twitter)

An illegal West Bank outpost was being demolished Wednesday morning, sparking violent clashes between police and dozens of demonstrators.

Three people were arrested on suspicion of attacking police officers during the evacuation of the Geulat Zion outpost in the Shiloh settlement bloc in the central West Bank.

Around 50 people arrived at the site to oppose the removal of the outpost by the Civil Administration, an Israeli entity that governs the West Bank.

A short video shared on social media showed a female Border Police officer tussling with a young woman. The officer was seen kneeing the woman and then hurling her to the ground, where the two continued to wrestle with each other.

Other protesters climbed on top of a backhoe that was participating in the evacuation and the protesters then refused to come down from their perch.

Masked protesters also threw stones at security forces, damaging three vehicles, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

Two families and several teenagers live in the outpost.

“This government has once again proved that Zionist values ​​of settlement and pioneering are not part of its values,” a statement on behalf of the outpost said.

Leader of the far-right Otzma Yehudit faction, MK Itamar Ben Gvir, said in a statement: “At a time when areas in the south are being conquered by massive unauthorized construction, the government chose to enforce the destruction of Jewish homes that come to settle the land.”

Ben Gvir was apparently referring to widespread illegal construction by Bedouin communities in the south of the country.

The evacuation comes amid an uptick in violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in recent months, with 67 such incidents reported during this year’s olive harvest, compared to 42 last year, according to IDF figures reported by Army Radio this week.

Assault and vandalism by settlers against Palestinians and Israeli security forces in the West Bank are commonly referred to as “price tag” attacks. Perpetrators claim that they are retaliation for Palestinian violence or government policies seen as hostile to the settler movement, such as the removal of outposts.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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