This summer, the Israel Police plans to set up a dedicated administration for the evacuation of outposts in Judea and Samaria. In the past, the government has come under intense criticism for using IDF soldiers to demolish settlement communities in Judea and Samaria and evicting their residents. Many soldiers live in the settlements, or have families there, which puts the officers in an uncomfortable situation. But since the IDF is sovereign in Judea and Samaria, it is unclear what powers the new administration will be given.
The special administration, headed by a brigadier general, will oversee and coordinate the security forces' activities during the court-ordered evictions of more than 80 families this summer, which could potentially result in violent clashes. The police plan to hold drills simulating scenarios they would have to confront while attempting to forcibly remove the residents, who are likely to engage in civil disobedience and be joined by right-wing activists called to the flash points to frustrate evacuation efforts. The police also intend to allocate additional resources for the Judea and Samaria District. The administration's officials are expected to convene next week to divide responsibilities between the police and the Israel Defense Forces.
The High Court of Justice recently ordered the state to remove Migron, the largest illegal outpost in Judea and Samaria, by Aug. 1. Earlier this month the court also ruled that five apartment buildings in Beit El's Ulpana neighborhood be demolished by July 1, effectively siding with Palestinians who claimed the homes had been built on their land. In Beit El, the disputed homes house 30 families. Migron, situated just north of Jerusalem, consists of about 50 families, a large majority of whom reside in prefabricated homes.
The issue of illegal outposts — sparsely populated settlements in Judea and Samaria established without official government sanction, often on private or disputed Palestinian land — has occasionally caused tempers to flare on the Right. In September, the demolition of structures in Migron led to clashes with residents and even to suspected retaliatory “price-tag" attacks in the form of vandalism on Arab property and Israeli army bases.
But for all the advance preparations on the part of the police and the army, it is still unclear whether the government will instruct security forces to follow through on the evacuations. Netanyahu and many lawmakers are determined to find what they call "creative solutions" that would comply with the court's rulings while avoiding scenes reminiscent of the Amona outpost evacuation in 2006 and the pullout from the Gaza Strip's Gush Katif bloc a year earlier, when Israeli forces had to contend with large numbers of evacuees. In those cases, both settlers and soldiers sustained minor injuries.
"This is a serious challenge," Netanyahu said Thursday. "We are constantly looking for an agreed upon and humane solution," he said, referring to the Ulpana neighborhood evacuation. "If I manage to find a surprise [resolution] for this issue as well, we would all be pleased."
Meanwhile, the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria on Wednesday night destroyed several illegal makeshift structures that had been occupied by so-called hilltop youth at the Ramat Migron and Oz Zion outposts.