Reserves army post ransacked by settlers at Yitzhar, April 8, Photo: IDF
Hours after dozens of settlers raided an army post following the demolition of illegal structures in Yitzhar early Tuesday morning, a senior security source said that soldiers stood idly by and watched as the post was destroyed.
Hundreds of settlers from the Yitzhar settlement in the West Bank rioted and attacked security forces overnight Tuesday after the the Border Police destroyed four illegally built structures and seized a caravan.
Security sources said the violence they encountered was extreme, adding that it included rock throwing, the burning of tires, and road blockages. Security forces dispersed the rioters with non-lethal crowd control measures.
Soon afterwards, a group of 50 to 60 settlers from Yitzhar raided an army post located to the west of the settlement to defend it from Palestinian terror attacks.
The settlers destroyed generators, army equipment, heaters, and diesel fuel tanks, as six soldiers who manned the position stood on the side and failed to lift a finger to stop them.
"They are trained to protect them [the settlers], not to confront them," a security source said. "The soldiers are not ready to take on a group of 50 to 60 Yitzhar residents, the very people they were sent to defend," he added.
The lack of readiness and resolution to stop the attackers meant that the soldiers simply stood on the side and watched as the settlers ransacked the post, the source admitted.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said that while not all Yitzhar residents are violent, Israel was determined to stop radical elements from violating the rule of law.
"We won't allow them to lift a hand against the IDF, the Border Police, the Israel Police, and the Civil Administration," he vowed. "They will have to obey the law like every Israeli citizen, and we will deal with violent activities with full severity, until they stop and understand that on does not lift a hand against the law," Ya'alon added.
Security sources said that two of the structures destroyed in Yitzhar were inhabited and had to be vacated before the demolition.
The IDF did not take part in the demolition, which was carried out by Border Police and police.
Six Border Policemen were lightly injured in the incident. Four were treated on site, and two others were taken to hospital. No arrests were made.
The razing of the structures took place hours after vandals targeted an IDF jeep for the second time in two days in Yitzhar on Monday. The jeep's tires were slashed in what security forces suspect was a far-right attack.
On Sunday, the tires of an army jeep, belonging to Samaria Brigade Commander Col. Yoav Yarom, were slashed.
"The IDF takes a grave view of any harm caused to army commanders and soldiers, conscripts or reserves, who work day and night to defend the residents of the state of Israel," the IDF Spokesman Unit said. It condemned the latest incident as "the crossing of a red line."