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The so-called “settlers” movement in Israel, the on-the-ground “irregulars” carrying out the daily war to drive Palestinians out of the West Bank, have been on the warpath, especially since December 2022, when the “blood and soil” pair, Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich were made ministers in Netanyahu’s governing coalition. The “settlers,” the base of their political machine, no longer suffered from police authority interventions on settler attacks against the local Palestinians. However, just overnight, the IDF and Israel’s Border Police forces, after having given the “settlers” a free hand for over a year, went in and demolished an illegal settler operation in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank, an outpost called Pnei Kedem. Settler activists said today that an early-morning raid eliminated six temporary housing units, including some occupied by IDF reservists.

The Times of Israel said that the “demolitions ignited already tense discussions between far-right ministers and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over civil affairs in the West Bank.” Smotrich’s team, according to Israel Hayom Hebrew daily, charged that the IDF had bypassed Smotrich with the ruse that the demolition was of “immediate security urgency.” (Even though Smotrich is the Finance Minister, he had assumed a simultaneous position in the Defense Ministry, quasi-officially, to take over civilian issues in the West Bank.)

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