Ulpana outpost near Beit El 370 (R).
(photo credit:REUTERS/Nir Elias)
The IDF is concerned that settler violence will escalate throughout the West Bank ahead of the planned evacuation of the Ulpana outpost in Beit El over the coming month.
It is particularly concerned with the settlement of Yitzhar, which has seen an increase in violence in recent months between settlers and Palestinians.
As a result, the Judea and Samaria Division has beefed up the number of troops stationed in the area to prevent future acts of violence.
“The pending evacuations could lead to an increase in settler violence,” a defense official said.
The IDF fears that radical right-wing activists will embark on a series of so-called “price-tag” attacks against Palestinians in an effort to derail the government’s plans to evacuate the Ulpana as well as two other outposts – Amona and Givat Assaf.
Last week, the IDF confiscated a number of weapons from members of the Yitzhar’s settlement rapid response team following two incidents during which they opened fire at Palestinians in violation of military regulations.
In one incident, members of the Yitzhar squad opened fire in the direction of Palestinians in the village of Asira al-Qibliya, as clashes took place between settler youth and local Palestinians.
In a second incident a week later, settler youth again clashed with Palestinians as both sides set fire to fields and members of the Yitzhar team opened fire on a Palestinian youth who it said was carrying a pistol.
The Palestinian was shot in the stomach and several settler youths immediately ran to him, tying up his hands and beating him. IDF soldiers arrived at the scene, pushed away the youths and treated the Palestinian, whom the Palestinian Red Crescent then evacuated to a nearby hospital.
IDF soldiers said that while the Palestinian was carrying a knife, no pistol was found.
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