AFP
Last updated: 14 May, 2014

Israel removes settler outpost structures

Israeli military forces began demolishing structures in an illegal West Bank settler outpost on Wednesday, the army said, after attempts at a voluntary evacuation failed.

Soldiers at the Maale Rehavam outpost, southeast of the West Bank town of Bethlehem, helped demolish 11 structures, five of which had been inhabited, a defence ministry spokesman told AFP.

Israeli media reported that the army was also to raze more than a dozen structures in two other outposts, Ramat Gilad and Givat Assaf, by the weekend.

The orders to remove the structures came after residents refused to evacuate voluntarily.

Israel’s High Court ruled in November that the state must remove the structures which were on privately-owned Palestinian land.

Last year Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said the government had decided to legalise a number of outposts which were on land purchased from Palestinians, including parts of Maale Rehavam.

Israel considers settlement outposts built without government approval to be illegal. They usually consist of little more than a few trailer homes.

But the international community considers all settlements built in the West Bank — including east Jerusalem — to be illegal.