OFRA (Palestinian Territories), Feb 28 — Hundreds of Israeli youths were today positioning themselves in and around nine settler homes set to be emptied and demolished, an AFP reporter said, as security forces surrounded the structures.
The homes in the Ofra settlement were found to have been built on private Palestinian land and the Israeli supreme court ordered them razed by March 5, rejecting last minute petitions to delay the demolition or have the buildings sealed instead.
Dozens of youths were on the roof of one of the homes, and dozens more inside with the family, an AFP reporter said. Other protestors were milling around in the vicinity of the homes.
A statement from the army said forces were deployed in and around the settlement and the eviction would begin at 11am.
Most of the residents of the homes had already packed their belongings.
The Ofra leadership was intent on preventing violent clashes with security forces such as those that took place during the eviction of the nearby Amona outpost three weeks ago, where youths barricaded themselves in the synagogue and wounded Israeli forces with stones and acid.
International law considers all settlements to be illegal, but Israel distinguishes between those it has authorised and those built without official permission.
Most of the international community considers settlements an obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. — AFP