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Outpost evacuation fails following clashes

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Settlers clashed with security forces on Friday afternoon, preventing the evacuation of the illegal West Bank outpost of Oz Zion, in the Beit El area.

Five Border Guard officers were lightly injured and treated at the site. In addition, the tires of two Border Guard vehicles were punctured. Dozens of IDF, police and Border Guard forces took part in the evacuation attempt.

Some 150 teenagers gathered in the outpost, which was built in a closed military zone, for a Shabbat meeting led by Rabbi Dov Lior.

A settler sources said following the failed evacuation, "We managed to get ministers to stop the evacuation due to the start of the Sabbath."

Binyamin Regional Brigade Commander Colonel Yossi Pinto arrived at the outpost in a bid to convince the settlers to leave.

The security forces said the settlers had hurled stones at the fighters.

The settlers, on the other hand, claimed that the forces had used violence against them. In response, the settlers shut the gates of the nearby outpost of Givat Asaf.

The settlers further argued that soldiers entered Givat Asaf and fired tear gas and shock grenades. Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu was reportedly lightly hurt by tear gas. Defense establishment officials confirmed that crowd dispersal means were likely used by the forces.

Security forces are expected to remain at the outpost throughout the weekend to guard the settlers and prevent additional activists from flocking to the area. The IDF Spokesperson\’s Office said the outpost would be evacuated on Saturday evening, after the conclusion of Shabbat.

The Oz Zion outpost has been evacuated several times in the past year, but the settlers returned shortly afterwards.

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