The European Union condemned the demolition on Tuesday of ten structures it had helped finance in Yehudah and Shomron.
The EU buildings were among a total of 24 illegal ones that the IDF tore down in a closed military zone in and around Khirbet Jenbah, south of Chevron.
A spokesman for the Europeans protested that “the EU expects its investments in support of the Palestinian people to be protected from damage and destruction.”
A statement from COGAT, the Israeli administration in the region, confirmed that “enforcement measures were taken against illegal structures and solar panels built within a military zone.”
However, a High Court injunction later in the day ordered a halt to all demolitions until at least February 9.
The IDF operation left 12 families temporarily homeless, Nidal Younes, head of a local village council, claimed to AFP. “In total it is around 80 people,” he said.
But Israeli activists charge that most “residents” of such illegal Arab outposts in fact own homes elsewhere, and set up sites such as these to create political “facts on the ground,” The Jerusalem Post reported.
“The decision came without prior warning, in a sudden and extreme move that will leave many families without a roof over their heads during the winter,” MK Dov Khenin of the Joint (Arab) List wrote in a letter to Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, who wields authority over COGAT.
According to COGAT, the action was coming for some time. Talks held between the residents and Israeli authorities to resolve the issue proved fruitless, because “the building owners showed no willingness to get the situation in order and illegal construction did not stop.”
Activists say that more than 1,000 people could be affected if the demolitions resume in the 10 other villages on the IDF’s list.