Israeli police started on Wednesday noon to evacuate the unauthorized outpost of Amona in the West Bank, a police spokesperson said in a statement.
“Operation Locked Garden 2 has started,” the spokesperson said.
Live broadcasts on Israeli television showed buses with thousands of police officers entering Amona to carry out a court-ordered evacuation of the outpost, which was built on private Palestinian land.
The military issued orders instructing the settlers to evacuate within 48 hours and blocked roads leading to the outpost. However, hundreds of far-right activists arrived at Amona to resist the eviction.
They barricaded themselves inside homes and a synagogue as police urged them to leave peacefully.
No immediate clashes erupted.
Amona, east of the Palestinian city Ramallah, is the largest among about 100 outposts scattered across the West Bank. These outposts were erected by ultra-right settlers without permits from the Israeli authorities, but the governments often have turned a blind eye to their construction.
There are an additional 120 settlements that Israel considered as legal.
Both outposts and settlements are illegal under international law as they were built on lands occupied by Israel in the 1967 Mideast War, where the Palestinians wish to build their future state.
Over the past months, Amona became a symbol of the hardline settlement movement and a major issue in Israeli politics and the society at large, with implications for the fate of the entire settlement movement.
Israel’s top court ruled in 2014 that Amona must be evicted because it was built on private Palestinian land. The court later set Feb. 8 as the final date for the eviction.
The eviction was the first time the Israeli government has evacuated a Jewish outpost in four years. Enditem