Israel begins partial evacuation of Jewish settlement

Tel Aviv, Feb 28 (IANS) Israel police on Tuesday began the partial evacuation of nine Jewish settlements in the centre of the West Bank, after a ruling from the high court.

The court has ordered nine houses to be demolished in the West Bank settlement of Ofra, as they are built on private Palestinian land, Efe news reported.

“The evacuation of the nine homes has begun, in accordance with the high court order,” said Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri, who asked the settlers for respect and responsibility during removal.

Hundreds of police and border guards were deployed in the area, a source said, referring to the arrest of a 17-year-old young man who assaulted one of the officers while trying to resist the evacuation.

The high court on Monday rejected the appeal presented by the settlers who wanted to cancel the demolition.

The court ruled that part of the houses in this settlement, with 3,500 inhabitants and located in the central West Bank region, in territory occupied by Israel since 1967, must be demolished and land returned to its owners, and set March 5 as the last day to carry out the judgement.

Thousands of people recently protested the rule and a new demonstration is now scheduled to call on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government not to execute the court decision, sources in the settlement told Efe news.

According to international law, all settlements built in occupied territories are illegal, but Israel considers some of them to be lawful under its own legislation, while others are illegal.