IDF, settlers prepare for clash at Mitzpe Yitzhar outpost (JERUSALEM POST) By MATTHEW GUTMAN 06/19/03)
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The IDF geared up late Wednesday night to dismantle Mitzpe Yitzhar,
the first inhabited outpost settlement slated for removal since the
Aqaba summit, following a week of legal wrangles and operational
The move was scheduled despite Prime Minister Ariel Sharon´s pledge
not to follow through with any concessions stipulated in the road map
until the Palestinian Authority clamps down fully on terrorism.
As has become its modus operandi of late, the IDF intends to enter
the settlement in the middle of the night to avoid confrontation as
far as possible.
The High Court of Justice late Wednesday night issued an injunction
against the dismantling of the outpost´s one permanent structure.
There are, in addition, a caravan and several tents.
Settler activists, meanwhile, have been preparing for a physical
standoff against the soldiers.
"This is a battle against the government and it is a battle which we
don´t want to lose.
But if we lose it we have no intention of losing the war," said Ezra
Rosenfeld, spokesman for the Council of Settlements in Judea,
Samaria, and the Gaza Strip.
Buses loaded with young activists, some coming from as far away as
the Golan Heights, climbed the hills throughout Wednesday to the
isolated outpost a few kilometers from Nablus.
The settlers´ strategy is to delay the evacuation of the outpost for
as long as possible, constantly draining IDF resources in an effort
to dissuade the government from ordering additional evacuations. "We
have no intention of leaving this place easily," Yitzhar spokesman
Yossi Peli told The Jerusalem Post Wednesday night, adding that there
are orders for no one to raise a hand against the soldiers.
The mood at Yitzhar was "suspenseful" Wednesday night, said Peli.
Dozens of activists camped out at the site, uncertain when, or if,
the IDF would execute the evacuation order.
While it has planned for the removal of the outpost for the better
part of two weeks, IDF sources said Wednesday night that should they
encounter hordes of activists, or should other anti-terror operations
take precedence, they would postpone the Yitzhar evacuation.
A pamphlet published last week by a group called "Rabbis of Yesha"
called on soldiers and policemen to "use your conscience and refuse
every order to evacuate settlements." According to settler leaders,
several soldiers have asked their commanders to relieve them of their
duty should they be forced to evacuate outposts. There was no IDF
confirmation of the settlers´ report.
"We are not ashamed that we are telling soldiers to refuse orders to
clear the settlement, an action which is only a prize for terrorism,"
An IDF source said, however, that "since the government gave the
order to evacuate the outposts, and though 10 have already been
dismantled already, not one soldier has refused to comply with
In a meeting between local settlement leaders and IDF officers in
charge of the evacuation, the settlers expressed their unwillingness
to budge and their hope that the army would use minimal force in
removing both activists and materiel from the site.
The IDF, in turn, expressed its hope that the settlers would live up
to their word and remain passive in their resistance.
(© 1995-2003, The Jerusalem Post 06/19/03)
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