The Israeli occupation forces began removing the rogue outposts in the occupied West Bank, drawing sharp criticism from the Settlers’ Council.
|Jewish settlers block army trucks|
in northern West Bank
The council announced “the start of a struggle against the clearing of outposts, against the Mideast road map and the surrender to terror”.
The council described its struggle as determined, non-compromising and non-violent, saying that it would continue until Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon cancelled the decision.
“We will not give the ‘goyim’ (Hebrew for non-Jews) of the world the pleasure of seeing us fighting our fellow Jews”, said a bearded seminary student living in a Jewish settlement, Amichai Hadad.
Removal of the outposts began shortly after a meeting between council leaders and Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz in Tel Aviv, settler sources said.
According to the sources, Mofaz told council leaders the occupation forces would dismantle some 14 outposts in the West Bank, which did not have government permission.
Five of the outposts are inhabited and are located in the northern West Bank.
They are Shavei Shomron West, Beit El East, Mitspeh Yitzhar, Havat Gilad and Nofei Nehemiah, the sources said.
They added that Mitspeh Yitzhar could be evacuated overnight.
The “road map” calls for dismantling settlement outposts - those settlements not authorised by Tel Aviv - established since March 2001 and for a freeze on construction inside settlements authorised by the government.
All Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which were occupied by Israel in 1967, are illegal under international law.
“In line with a government decision, the Israel defence forces have started dismantling unauthorised outposts”, Israeli military sources said earlier.
They did not name the outposts or say how many were to be uprooted.
More than 200,000 Jews, many of them heavily armed and protected by Israeli occupation soldiers, live in some 150 government-authorised settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
They either claim they have a biblical right to the land or are tempted by the housing subsidies granted to them by the government.