Rioting settlers, Israeli security forces clash in West Bank
Six Israeli Border Police officers were hurt in clashes between Israeli security forces and settlers in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Yitzhar.
Hundreds of supporters of the settlement, located deep in the West Bank near Nablus, rallied to the settlement late on April 8 after Israeli security forces arrived to demolish several illegal structures. People were living in two of the structures; at least two other structures were under construction. One structure was confiscated.
The settlers threw stones, burned tires and blocked roads, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). They also attacked a nearby IDF guard post responsible for the settlement’s security.
Two settlers were injured and eight arrested. About 200 families live in Yitzhar.
On April 6, the tires of the IDF commander of the Samaria Brigade, Col. Yoav Yarom, were slashed while he was visiting Yitzhar. A teenage resident of Yitzhar was arrested for the crime. On April 7, the tires of a jeep on routine IDF patrol in Yitzhar also were slashed.
There have been an increasing number of attacks on security forces in the West Bank by settlers in recent weeks, according to the IDF.
“The IDF views such events harshly,” the Israeli military said in a statement. “Any assault on army commanders, regular or reserves, who are engaged day and night in defending the people of Israel, is crossing a red line.”
The IDF also noted that such incidents take its attention away from protecting the residents of the settlements.
Yitzhar residents said in a statement published in Haaretz that “the policy of demolition and collective punishment by authorities against residents is disturbing. The Israeli government cannot demolish the homes of innocent people as revenge for other isolated illegitimate incidents, as grave as they may be. We call on the security establishment and its leader to stop this policy immediately.”