Israeli police moving people out of two Jewish settlements in the West Bank have not tried long negotiations like they did in Gaza. The security forces had been threatened with violent resistance in Sanur and Homesh, so they went into action quickly.
But resident settlers in both enclaves began vacating their homes peacefully. A first busload pulled out of Sanur in the mid-morning. An army spokesman said there were 60 families in Sanur but it was harder dealing with infiltrators – a group of about 1,000 protesters fighting over ideology. Radicals were barricaded in two synagogues, an old citadel and private homes.
The police and soldiers had ketchup, flour, cooking oil and paint thrown at them by protesters. Young ultranationalists from outside Sanur and Homesh also threw bottles, lightbulbs, eggs and tomatoes. Some of the hardliners were taken off a synagogue roof in the scoop of a bulldozer.
Israel said it finished the removal of 8,500 Jews from all 21 settlements in Gaza yesterday. It was two weeks faster than expected, and a big step towards ending 38 years of occupation there.
Palestinians want Israel to leave all of the West Bank and Gaza but Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has sworn to keep the biggest Jewish settlements in the West Bank, where some 230,000 settlers live among ten times more Palestinians.
The UN’s World Court says these settlements are illegal.