Protesters, troops face off as Ofra settlers evicted ahead of home demolitions

The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request to seal the homes instead of demolishing them, The court also determined that the arrangements law, which legalizes West Bank outposts built on private Palestinian land, does not apply to these homes.

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 of Justice turns down an appeal by the residents of nine buildings in the Ofra settlement in the northern West Bank slated for demolition tomorrow. "At the same time, negotiations are continuing with the settlers and local leadership, to allow the operation to go forward without violence", police said in a statement.

Dozens of settlers and their supporters were protesting on the rooftops as military and police forces handed the evacuation orders to settler leaders and asked them to co-operate peacefully and avoid confrontation.

Police had to carry some of the residents out of their houses as they refused to leave on their own.

The settlers petitioned the court after the parliament passed a law on February 6 that allows in certain cases to retroactively legalize settlement and outpost homes that were built without permits.

All Israeli settlements are considered to be illegal according to global law, yet there are around 550,000 Israelis living in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The so-called "Regularization Bill" allows Israel to expropriate privately owned Palestinian land on which settlement outposts have been illegally built.

Since U.S. President Donald Trump took office in January, Israel has announced plans to build 6,000 more settler homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinian owners would be compensated financially or with other land.

  • Leroy Wright