Security forces clashed with hundreds of teenage protesters at the Netiv Ha’Avot outpost Tuesday, but estimated that approximately 80 percent of the neighborhood had been cleared of protesters and residents by 1:30 pm. Several officers also predicted anonymously that the feared the toughest part of their job lie ahead, as dozens of teenagers continued to barricade themselves on rooftops, in basements and bedrooms of the 15 homes slated for demolition.
At one home, dozens of teenage girls, who had linked arms and were sitting on the floor waiting for security forces, prevented Jewish Home MKs Bezalel Smotrich and Shuli Moalem-Refaeli from speaking, quieting down only for the owner of the home to “remind” them only to passively resist eviction, not to actively clash with the troops.
Next door, protesters greeted border police officers who had entered the house to deliver eviction and demolition orders with singing, dancing and calls for security forces to refuse to carry out the orders.
David Den Heijer, the owner of the home, greeted the officer in his living room with a handshake, and spoke to hundreds of protesters after an amicable exchange with the officer.
“Every song we’ve sung here this morning brought me back to a previous time of my life, when I made Aliya and dreamed of building a home in the Land of Israel. Thank God, I realized that dream. The support we’ve gotten from every person in this community, and farther afield, has been tremendous and really given us strength,” he said
Looking around the room, the stress on Den Heijer’s face was palpable as his eyes settled on a family photograph magnetted to the refrigerator and last night’s dinner dishes still drying on the kitchen counter. Returning to the people sitting on the floor, he added that although his family and community were stung today with the pain of eviction and demolition, he said that residents would recover and build, and would eventually return to Netiv Ha’Avot.
“It hurts a lot now. The tears won’t stop, and we are so, so angry – at the High Court of Justice, at our politicians. I voted for a right-wing government, but again and again (they demolish homes in the Land of Israel).
“But Thursday afternoon, after they’ve cleared out our things and demolished our home, we will move forward. We’ll move from ‘demolition mode’ to ‘building mode.’ We must not stay in demolition mode- we’ll leave that to Peace Now,” Heijer said.
UPDATE: Hundreds of police officers have gathered in a ring around what appears to be the final hold out in the outpost. Protesters on the roof are calling on IDF soldiers and police officers to refuse orders to remove them, and one or two adults are scouring the roof to prevent protesters from dropping heavy objects on the security forces.
By: Andrew Friedman
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