(JNS.org) Israeli security forces began the evacuation of the Amona outpost in Judea and Samaria, with clashes between police and protesters turning violent.
According to the Israel Police, 16 officers have been wounded during clashes with the protesters as of Wednesday afternoon, with some officers sustaining injuries from chemical substances being thrown at their eyes. Police said that so far, 12 houses have been evacuated, 200 people have been removed from the area and seven people have been arrested. Police added that they would continue the evacuation overnight.
Some 3,000 civil police, Border Police officers and soldiers arrived at Amona at dawn Wednesday to carry out the evacuation.
"The Israel Police held a nightly dialogue with the settlers to promote a voluntary eviction as per their commitment to the High Court. The police are striving to carry out this eviction without the use of force, to avoid violence against its troops,” the Israel Police said in a statement.
But residents of Amona resisted the orders, calling on supporters to barricade themselves in the outpost’s homes and refuse the evacuation.
"Make sure the police have to use as much force as necessary, without resorting to violence, to remove you. The police won't be violent if you are not violent," stated the instructions issued by Amona’s resident-led campaign against the evacuation.
Earlier this week, the Israel Defense Forces ordered residents of Amona to evacuate the area within two days.
The outburst of violence over the outpost, which the Israeli High Court ruled as illegal because it sits on private Palestinian land, comes after months of tension over the site. In December, Amona residents struck a deal with the Israeli government to delay the eviction for 45 days until Feb. 8, and it was agreed that the residents would move to an adjacent plot of land. That plan stalled, however, because a Palestinian claimed ownership of the new plot. As such, Amona residents claimed that the Israeli government violated the initial agreement, prompting them to renew their campaign against the community’s relocation.