Two policemen were lightly wounded when Palestinian farmers threw rocks at them, in a clash in olive groves near Kafr Karyut, in the Binyamin region.
The violence marked the end of a march by local settlers to the olive grove, from which Palestinian snipers had wounded Israeli motorist Lt.-Col. (res.) Yair Hirsch late last month. Hirsch, a father of four, said that bullets hit his car and injured his left arm.
On Tuesday, he marched to the spot where terrorists had targeted his car, to protest the IDF's decision to continue to allow Palestinian farmers to harvest their olives in that grove.
"The army is preparing the ground for the next attack," Hirsch told The Jerusalem Post.
He added that he understood the humanitarian issues involved in barring the Arab farmers from the grove, but said that the security of local Jewish residents had to be the IDF's chief concern.
Hirsch told the residents of the Kida outpost and the Shvut Rachel settlement who joined the march that he had come to look the terrorists in the eye.
Spokesmen for the settlers added that in many instances Palestinians went into fields near settlements with the help of left-wing Israelis to provoke settlers, and not to harvest olives. That was something, they said, that they would not tolerate.
"This is a fabricated harvest," Didi Dagani, a resident of the Kida outpost, told Army Radio. "There are hardly any olives on the trees this year. They're bringing in dozens of people for a few sacks that don't even cover a day's work. The harvest is designed for terror infrastructure. They gather information so that they can carry out attacks from the very same area. We are not willing to sacrifice our blood on the pretext of fictitious human rights."
But a field workers for Rabbis for Human Rights, Zacharia Sedda, said that 15 Palestinian farmers had arrived in their fields on Tuesday morning to harvest olives. They had no idea that the settlers had planned a march in the area.
They were surprised to see the settlers arrive and tempers flared, said Sedda, who tried to calm the situation.
He accused settlers of throwing rocks at Palestinian farmers and assaulting them. The IDF was at fault here, he said, for authorizing a march at the same time that Palestinians were due to be in their fields.
Hirsch denied that settlers had attacked Arabs. It was the other way around, he said, the Palestinians threatened them with farming tools.
From the olive grove, the settlers marched to Kafr Karyut and then returned home, he said.