Three days after the onset of a shaky ceasefire in Lebanon, Israel’s military has been ordered to prepare for an evacuation of Jewish outposts in the West Bank.
Military sources said the Civil Affairs Administration has begun preparing eviction orders against several unauthorized Jewish outposts in the West Bank. The sources said the orders could result in mobilization of thousands of police and soldiers for an operation expected to encounter significant civil resistance.
“There are arguments within the military over who would conduct the operation,” a military source said. “It is not clear whether there are sufficient police or soldiers right now for any major operation.”
The government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has pledged to dismantle at least 24 Jewish communities established in the West Bank over the last five years. Jewish settlement leaders said most of the outposts were built with the encouragement of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, felled by a stroke in January 2006.
On Thursday, the Jewish outpost of Maalei Rehavam, located south of Bethlehem, said residents were informed that the military would issue a demolition order. The makeshift community of 30 people was established in 2001.
Yitzhak Halamish, a spokesman for the community, said five residents of Maalei Rehavam were serving in the army, three of them in Lebanon. He said the community would mobilize supporters to resist any evacuation effort.
“We are moving from mobilization orders to expulsion orders,” Halamish said. “The state didn’t suceed in defeating Hizbullah, so it’s trying to defeat the Jews.”