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Israeli outpost evacuated voluntarily

Dec. 29, 2012 at 11:18 PM

JERUSALEM, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- Israeli settlers left an illegal outpost on the West Bank voluntarily Saturday evening, a day after they clashed with soldiers trying to evict them.

The Israeli military negotiated the evacuation of Oz Zion with leaders of the settlement of Kiryat Arba and Rabbi Dov Lior of Hebron, Channel 2 reported.

An attempt to clear out Oz Zion before the beginning of the Sabbath at sundown Friday turned into a melee, The Jerusalem Post reported. Settlers threw stones, inflicting minor injuries on five police officers, and slashed the tires of a police car.

Dudi Ashraf, a spokesman for police in Judea and Samaria, said one person was arrested.

Police were summoned to the outpost Friday by the military, which said a group of young people were refusing to leave and said they wanted to remain in Oz Zion through the weekend.

Shelly Yacimovich, a leader of the Labor Party, said those who attacked police officers should be punished.

"Justice must be pursued against the lawbreakers," Yacimovich said. "This was a grave undermining of the rule of law, and a challenge to the state, its laws and the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces], whose strength is necessary to our existence here."

Naftali Bennett, leader of the right-wing Bayit Yehudi or Jewish Home Party, said authorities could have avoided trouble by delaying the eviction until after the Sabbath.

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