Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s fragile coalition looked to be in trouble Tuesday morning hours after police forcibly removed residents from a newly constructed neighborhood in the Jewish town of Beit El north of Jerusalem.
Israel’s Supreme Court recently ordered the houses in the new Dreinoff neighborhood of Beit El be demolished following a left-wing petition claiming the structures were built on “Palestinian” land.
On Monday, so-called Jewish “settlers” barricaded themselves in the houses to prevent the order being carried out. In the early morning hours of Tuesday, hundreds of riot police showed up to evacuate the neighborhood. Some 50 demonstrators were arrested during the ensuing confrontation.
The entire episode enraged right-wing members of Netanyahu’s coalition, who wondered why the police had been given a green light for the evacuation when both the prime minister and his defense minister, Moshe Yaalon, claimed to be against the demolition of the Dreinoff neighborhood.
For his part, Netanyahu maintained that he was working to strengthen the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, but that it must be done in accordance with the law and the approval of the courts.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, whose Jewish Home faction is the champion of the “settler” cause, hinted that his party would stop cooperating with Netanyahu and might leave the government altogether if the prime minister did not make right this situation.
PHOTO: Jewish settlers and riot police clash in the Samarian town of Beit El north of Jerusalem.