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Scores of Israelis evicted from former settlement in West Bank

Around 20 families, including a Likud MP, ejected from Sa-Nur by the military 15 years after first being expelled
Israeli settlers inside a property in the former settlement of Sa-Nur north of the occupied West Bank (Twitter\@EladHumi)

Scores of Israeli settlers attempting to repopulate an illegal settlement near the occupied West Bank city of Jenin were evicted again on Tuesday by Israel's military, 15 years after first being expelled.

Sa-Nur is one of four settlements Israel evacuated in 2005 as part of a wider disengagement policy carried out by then-Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon. Israeli settlers completely pulled out of the Gaza Strip, as well as the Ganim, Kadim and Homesh settlements in the West Bank.

On Monday night, around 20 Israeli families, including MP Ariel Kallner of the ruling Likud Party, arrived at the site and began laying the groundwork for resettlement, only to be evicted by the military hours later.

The settlers have attempted such moves several times perviously, though it is speculated that far-right settler groups may try to push through schemes in the West Bank before US President Donald Trump leaves office on 20 January.

Bezalel Smotrich, an MP from Israel's far-right Yamina Party and a settlement advocate, tweeted: “Mistakes need to be corrected. The renewed residential presence in Sa-Nur is a necessary step from a moral, Zionist and security standpoint.”

'Mistakes need to be corrected. The renewed residential presence in Sa-Nur is a necessary step from a moral, Zionist and security standpoint'

- Bezalel Smotrich, Israeli MP

He called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow the settlers to carry on with their plans.

“There had been no rational reason to destroy a community through expulsion and there’s no rational reason not to allow it to be re-established,” Somtrich tweeted.

Yossi Dagan, the head of local authority for settlements in the northern West Bank, expressed his dismay over the Israeli military's handling of the settlers.

“I would like to support you and your decisive stand,” he told the settlers.

“A return to the communities in northern [West Bank], Ganim, Kadim, Homesh and Sa-Nur, are the most correct thing to do after it has become clear that there is no one in the State of Israel who thinks that uprooting them was right.”

Sa-Nur, Ganim, Kadim and Homesh are in Area C, around 61 percent of the West Bank that is directly controlled by the Israeli military. 

Around 25 Palestinian towns and villages and approximately 300,000 Palestinians live in the area, which, like the rest of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, has been occupied by Israel since the 1967 Middle East war.

In the same area, around 325,500 Israeli settlers live in 125 settlements and outposts, built in contravention to international law.

In January, the Israeli government set up a task force to triple the West Bank's settler population and work towards imposing sovereignty in Area C.