November 19, 2019

Israeli Soldier Injured by Rock During Clashes with Residents of Yitzhar Settlement

Israeli soldiers outside the West Bank settlement of Emmanuel, July 17, 2002. (David Silverman/Getty Images via JTA)

JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Israeli soldier was hit and injured with a rock during clashes with residents of the northern West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.

The settlers also punctured the tires of several military vehicles, the IDF said.

The IDF said it used riot dispersal methods, including shooting in the air, to stop the clashes.

“It is inconceivable that IDF soldiers, who spend their days in defense of the settlers, would be attacked by those protected by them,” IDF Chief of Staff, Maj.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi, said in a statement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as Defense Minister, condemned the violence. “I strongly condemn any assault on IDF soldiers. There will be no tolerance for lawbreakers who raise a hand to our soldiers,” he said in a statement.

Benny Gantz, head of the Blue and White party and a former IDF chief, said in a statement addressed to soldiers and their commanders: “The State of Israel and the people of Israel support you and strengthen you. We will not stand for nor allow any harm to IDF soldiers.”

The incident comes following several instances of violence by settlers in the area of Yitzhar in recent days, including one in which masked youths attacked Jewish volunteers assisting Palestinian farmers with the olive harvest, injuring five volunteers including sending an 80-year-old rabbi to the hospital due to his injuries.

On Saturday, volunteers from the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din filmed what it said were masked settlers throwing stones at Palestinian farmers and then stealing their olives.

On Friday, a youth from Yitzhar was arrested after he allegedly threatened an IDF battalion commander, leading to anger from other youths. Yitzhar leadership objected to the arrest being made close to the start of Shabbat.