Israeli Police Demolish Illegal Homes After Removing Protesters

Israeli security forces demolished nine homes illegally built on private Palestinian land in the West Bank on Wednesday, after removing protesters who tried to stop the demolitions.

The police had removed protesters on Tuesday from eight of the nine homes in Ofra, but dozens of protesters holed themselves up in the last house until the following day. Security forces had originally planned to wait out the demonstrators, but changed tactics on Wednesday and forcibly removed them.

Twenty-one police officers were treated for injuries sustained during clashes with the demonstrators, including two officers who reported that they had been bitten. 15 protesters were arrested for attacking police. The police denied using excessive force and stated that all violence had been initiated by the protesters.

One structure was demolished on Tuesday, with the remaining eight removed the following day.

The owners of the homes themselves did not resist the evacuation orders, saying in a statement “We will not use crowbars and we will not barricade ourselves” inside the houses.

Israel’s High Court of Justice originally ordered the demolitions two years ago, but the action was postponed several times. The final order to demolish the homes came Monday after the court rejected an appeal by the owners to have the homes sealed rather than destroyed.

[Photo: Hadas Parush / Flash90 ]