Photo: Yishai Hollander
Army braces to evacuate Homesh settlers
Hundreds of settlers gather on hill near former settlement of Homesh in defiance of army orders

Hundreds of settlers and their supporters gathered Sunday on a hill facing the former West Bank settlement of Homesh where they set up a number of tents.


IDF forces are preparing for a forceful evacuation of the right-wing activists if they disobey orders to leave the area which was declared an off-limit military zone since the 2005 pullout from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.


Dozens of supporters were on their way to Homesh, which had witnessed confrontations between security forces and angry settlers bent on rebuilding the evacuated settlement.


Earlier Sunday, the army blocked two groups of settlers from entering Homesh. Settler leaders instructed activists not to exhibit violence against IDF soldiers, and there were no reports of clashes between the two sides.


The IDF said the settlers' march to Homesh was a burden on the army as hundreds of soldiers had to interrupt crucial training exercises for policing missions in the West Bank.


The army blocked major roads leading to Homesh to prevent settlers from shuttling hundreds of activists to the former settlement.


The army also threatened to sue the march's organizers for financial compensation, arguing that protecting Homesh is a costly endeavor.


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