A wounded man is treated at the scene of violent clashes between settlers and Palestinians in the Yitzhar settlement.
(photo credit: YESH DIN)
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sunday lashed out at Jewish extremists who threw stones at soldiers on Saturday, injuring an officer.
The IDF along with Border Police were on the outskirts of the northern West Bank village of Huwara to quell clashes between the extremists and Palestinians in the area of the Yitzhar settlement.
“There is zero tolerance for violence against IDF soldiers and security forces,” Liberman said.
“Law-enforcement authorities must quickly and decisively prosecute those thugs who attacked IDF soldiers and Border Police officers,” he said, adding that this is a “serious phenomenon that we cannot tolerate.”
The left-wing organization Rabbis for Human Rights immediately lashed out at Liberman for failing to also denounce the initial attack by the Jewish extremists against Palestinians.
It was that violence that brought security forces to Huwara in the first place, the organization said.
An attack on a soldier is “very serious,” Rabbis for Human Rights said, “but this statement by the head of the security establishment distinguishes between blood and blood, and it sends an implicit message that attacking Palestinians is not so significant and terrible as long as the security forces are not attacked.”
The group called on Liberman to clarify his statement.
Public Security Ministry Gilad Erdan issued a broader condemnation over the weekend that included both the attack on the IDF and on Palestinians.
Law enforcement will deal harshly against the perpetrators of hate crimes, whether their victims are Jews or Arabs, he said. “There is no room for hatred and violence based on racism.”
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid said the extremists had “crossed a redline,” and that those who take the law into their hands will be severely punished.
Also on Saturday, a group of extremists attacked a group of left-wing activists that were helping Palestinian goat herders in the Binyamin region of the West Bank near the Jordan Valley.