Hundreds of settlers and right-wing activists were forced to spend the night at the evacuated West Bank settlement of Homesh, in light of the IDF’s refusal to allow buses to reach the settlement in order to pick them up.
According the IDF, Border Guard forces evacuated early Wednesday morning several hundred of the right-wing activists, mostly teenagers, from the settlement, which they marched to on Tuesday morning in honor of Independence Day.
On Tuesday night, organizers of the march claimed that the IDF was preventing participants from leaving the settlement safely, and putting their lives at risk.
The IDF responded by saying that the march was not approved in the first place, and that the settlers and activists should leave Homesh the same way they entered it, by foot.
According to the IDF, about 5,000 marchers arrived at the evacuated settlement throughout the day, while organizers said that there were over 10,000 marchers present.
The marchers made their way to the settlement by foot Tuesday afternoon. Organizers made arrangements for buses to pick up the marchers after a rally that was held at the settlement, but the IDF did not allow the buses to pass through a roadblock at Shavei Shomron.
Most of the marchers left the settlement by foot, save a few hundred who decided to spend the night at the settlement in response to the IDF’s refusal.
Members of “Homesh First”, one group that organized the march, expressed rage over the IDF’s decision, saying that they were forcing families, women, and children, to walk home in the dark, often through Arab villages.
The group’s members said that it would hold Central Command Chief, Major General Yair Naveh responsible should anything happen to the marchers.
The IDF claimed that there was lighting in the area, and that forces would secure marchers who wished to leave on foot; the IDF has not yet confronted those who intend on spending the night there.
MK Uri Ariel (National Union-National Religious Party), intervened on befalf of the marchers, and called on Defense Minister Amir Peretz to immediately allow the buses to take the marchers to their homes, so that they would not be at risk walking through Arab villages.
According to Ariel, the situation was life-threatening, and Peretz would be responsible for any ‘disaster’ that may befall the marchers.
Amnon Meranda contributed to this article