Photo Credit: Hillel Meir, Tazpit News Agency
First, the demolition crew tore out the heart of the Israeli flag on the building.

Israeli forces began demolishing two half-finished apartment buildings at the Samaria Jewish community of Beit El just before noon on Wednesday.

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The destruction came one day before the demolition of the “Drayhoff buildings” was actually scheduled to begin. That date had been moved up from the original schedule on Sunday, August 2 set by the High Court of Justice.

Residents and other protesters had spent the past 72 hours working to block the move, with some passionately arguing with the forces.

Others tried to physically block the forces from carrying out their task. Clashes erupted between some protesters and troops.

The move followed a decision by the High Court early Wednesday morning rejecting a motion to temporarily delay the demolition.

As the bulldozers began their destruction of the buildings, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was signing an order in his office, approving the immediate construction of 300 housing units in the same community.

Those 300 housing units, however, had been promised to Beit El three years ago – after the relocation of homes which at the time comprised the Ulpana neighborhood — and have yet to materialize, even in the form of a groundbreaking.

Infuriated, saddened and traumatized Beit El residents have not been appeased by the prime minister’s promises on Tuesday to address the issues raised by the demolition. They called for the collapse of the fragile 61-member coalition and are pressuring the nationalist Bayit Yehudi party to quit the government.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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