The Israel Police have confiscated weapons from five members of the rapid
response security team at the Yitzhar settlement near Nablus after two incidents
during which they opened fire at Palestinians against military
The police have also opened a criminal investigation into
the shootings, which took place over two recent weekends.
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
IDF soldiers said that while the Palestinian was carrying a
knife, no pistol was found. The youths who tied up and beat him were not
arrested at the time and police are searching for them.
“These are two
serious incidents during which shots were fired against regulations,” a senor
officer from the IDF Central Command said on Saturday night. “We have refined
our rules of engagement for the settlement rapid response secure team to prevent
instances like this in the future.”
NGO B’Tselem, which released video
footage of both incidents, accused the IDF and Border Police of refusing to make
settlers leave the area and of not acting to protect the
The IDF investigation into the first incident, led by OC
Judea and Samaria Division Brig.- Gen. Hagai Mordechai, found that the soldiers
acted correctly and that while in the video they appear to be standing by during
the shooting, they made efforts to stop it and prevent additional hostilities.