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Illegal settlement outpost evacuated for the second time

Evacuation causes increased tensions in the coalition

Activists building back an illegal settlement outpost called Or Haim in Samaria, January 22, 2023. (Photo courtesy)

A small illegal settlement outpost in Samaria, Or Haim, was dismantled for the second time within three days on Sunday. 

Friday’s evacuation of Or Haim residents by Israel Police and Civil Administration forces was shortly followed by the residents returning, once again, to the location in an attempt to re-establish the outpost. 

At least six people were detained Sunday, when some 100 activists resisted the evacuation.

The activists denounced new Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant – a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party – for ordering the second expulsion of the outpost, accusing him of “continuing the policies of the previous, left wing government.” 

“The nation chose Gallant in order to advance right-wing policies, and now it appears he is implementing the policies of the left,” they said.

The dismantling of Or Haim prompted three members of the Religious Zionism party to boycott Sunday’s Cabinet meeting in protest of Gallant’s decision. 

Religious Zionism (RZP) is in favor of expanding settlements in Judea and Samaria, the ancient heartland of biblical Israel. 

Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, the head of RZP, published a statement on Friday saying he told the Civil Administration to stop the expulsion and dismantling of Or Haim but that Gallant had ordered it, nonetheless. 

Smotrich also serves as a minister within Israel’s Defense Ministry and has authority over the Civil Administration, which is in charge of civilian affairs in Judea and Samaria, including enforcement against illegal construction.

“The coalition agreements establish that, on this issue, responsibility is with Smotrich,” RZP Knesset Member Simcha Rothman told Army Radio.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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