During the eviction of an unauthorized settlement outpost Thursday morning, Israeli troops arrested three Israeli settlers who were protesting the eviction. During the clashes that resulted, six settlers and three Israeli police officers were slightly injured, according to the Israeli Army Radio.The police officers were injured when a protesting settler barricaded himself on the roof of one of the structures in the illegal outpost of Yisa Bracha while it was being evacuated. The roof collapsed, injuring the settler and three officers, who were transported to Jerusalem-area Israeli hospitals with the other injured settlers, with most of them being taken to Hadassah University Hospital, Mt. Scopus.
Locals claim that the security forces used violence against them, including the use of tear gas canisters and batons, with the police claiming that the settlers hurled rocks at them and burned tires. Hours before the razing of the outpost, the Israeli security forces also took down a structure in the Oz Zion outpost, near Route 60. The police used stun-grenades against the protesting settlers, after the protesters threw stones at them.
Yisa Bracha was an outpost made up of six structures, next to the Mitzpeh Yeriho settlement in the eastern West Bank, near the Palestinian city of Jericho. The area has been a focus of the Israeli government over the past several years, with the approval of a number of settlements in the Jordan Valley which, although approved by the Israeli government, are considered illegal under international law.
The Jordan Valley is the most fertile farmland in the West Bank, and runs along the eastern edge of the West Bank north of Jericho. The Israeli government has outlined a plan to establish and permanently maintain a presence of military bases and civilian settlement colonies along the eastern border of the West Bank, effectively encircling the Palestinian territory and rendering the formation of a Palestinian state nearly impossible.
Despite the approval of many settlement units in the Jericho area, right-wing settlers have complained to the Israeli government that they should approve more settlements, and have moved forward with constructing unauthorized outposts without the approval of the Israeli government.
In late December, Israeli settlers began a public campaign defacing photos of military officials whom they claim were participating in evictions of outposts, and their supporters in the Israeli Knesset proposed a bill to legalize all unauthorized settlement outposts.