Residents of Mitzpe Avichai near Kiryat Arba were markedly calm regarding the demolition of the illegal outpost in the early morning hours on Wednesday. This was also the case at the Federman Farm near Hebron, which was also forcibly evacuated last night. Likely this is because efforts to rebuild the latter are already underway and a similar settler operation at the latter is expected to begin in the near future.
"What happens now is that we have reinforcements," says Zur Natan Dorani of Mitzpe Avichai, "we'll do more groundwork for the families that will come here, we'll guard it during the night, raise the power lines that were taken down and connect to the waterlines."
The reinforcements have indeed materialized, in the form of numerous teenagers who have arrived at the site of the demolished outpost to aid the rebuilding. Settlers from Hebron and Kiryat Arba will also travel to the site, where prayers will be held shortly before the construction work begins.
Kiryat Arba resident Ariyeh Davis told Ynet that he intends to move his wife and two children to the rebuilt outpost. "We'll work harder and get things moving faster to make this happen," he said.
"Our answer is 'expansion against expulsion,' this is what we did at Maoz Esther and other places, and this is what we'll continue to due. God willing we'll build new places, and from 300,000 residents in Judea and Samaria we'll become 600,000."
A brief violent incident was reported in the area earlier in the afternoon as Palestinians hurled rocks at a group of teens and stole two sets of phylacteries. The police and IDF canvassed the area for the perpetrators.
The pervading sense of calm was also noticeable in other such sites throughout the West Bank, namely those outposts listed amongst the 26 destined to be dismantled; this despite recent statements made by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the inevitability of taking the illegal outposts down.
Ma'ale Rehavam is one such outpost. Named in honor of slain Minister Ze'evi, it was founded seven years ago and is currently home to ten families and several young single men. Some are religious, some are secular, most reside in mobile homes but there are some permanent structures.
Danny Halmish, who is secular, lives in Ma'ale Rehavam with his pregnant wife and two children. He told Ynet he wasn't concerned about the demolition order. "This is an act of Zionism, this is no different from Homa Umigdal," he said, referring to the strategy (also known as 'Tower and Stockade') employed by the Jewish community in British-mandate Palestine whereby new towns and kibbutzim, and the means to guard them, were built over the course of a single night so as to avoid attacks on the settlers during the vulnerable construction phase.
"The State of Israel is supposed to be the Jewish state. The moment it forgets this and stops being the Jewish state - and this is what we're seeing happen – it falls apart," he said.
As for the expulsion orders, Halmish is not worried. "We got similar warrants in 2004, there's nothing new here. The State of Israel has wanted to destroy our community for a long time now, and each time something happens that interferes with its plans."
He added that Ma'ale Rehavam was built on land belonging to the settlement of Nokdim, which was approved by all the necessary authorities save for the minister of defense. "This is a political decision (on Minister Ehud Barak's part), it's time that he admitted that this is about politics."