More than 200 Israelis — including 20 families from the original town — were forcibly removed from the ruins of the former northern Samaria town of Sa-Nur Wednesday night. But at least two of the security personnel tasked with the assignment broke down in tears and refused to carry it out.
IDF soldiers and Israel Police officers entered the fortress where families and their supporters had barricaded themselves Monday night, 10 years after the residents were expelled.
Sa-Nur was among the four northern Samaria communities destroyed along with all of the towns in the Jewish region of Gush Katif during the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza.
Ten years after that nightmare, many families are still living in “temporary” housing, their government compensation funding used up by the banks forcing them to continue to pay the mortgages on homes wrested from them.
Earlier this week, the residents of Sa-Nur decided it was time to re-populate their town. They gathered supplies and returned to the ruins with equipment to begin repairs.
On Wednesday night that came to a halt, as Israeli forces declared the area a closed military zone, placed barriers at the entrance and brought buses to take the families away.
By 7 am Thursday, all of those who attempted to re-populate Sa-Nur were removed.
“Relatives who stayed at the scene and even small children were hit and violently dragged to buses and truck buses brought by security forces,” families told journalists. Most were dropped off at the community of Kedumim, also located in Samaria.
At least two Border Guard Police officers refused orders to forcibly remove Jews from the site, and reportedly broke down in tears, according to several media reports.
A spokesperson for the Border Guard Police denied the refusals occurred, however, saying, “It never happened. Despite the difficulty in performing the complex tasks involved, all the soldiers completed their mission.”
Knowing the effect a second “expulsion” has had on both those who carry out the task as well as well as on those who are expelled, the families sent a letter to the prime minister and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Tuesday, urging them to refrain from another expulsion.
“IDF soldiers are our beloved brothers, flesh of our flesh. We demand not to repeat the trauma of the expulsion, and not to force IDF soldiers to expel us again from our homes,” they wrote.
“Placing the soldiers against their settler brothers is the addition of sin to a crime. Even if the government wants to expel Jews from their homes and their land, that should be done by police officers, and not by soldiers and Border Patrol soldiers who give the best of their years for the security of Israel.”
The expulsion of Gush Katif and northern Samaria was extremely traumatic, despite the various efforts by authorities to minimize the shock and stress both to residents and to security personnel who were involved.
The fallout from those events has continued to this day, both in the civilian and political sector.
Hana Levi Julian