Two Border Police officers were lightly injured and four Israelis were arrested
during clashes that occurred Tuesday outside the West Bank Esh Kodesh outpost,
near the Shiloh settlement.
The incident was sparked by a land dispute
between Esh Kodesh residents and Palestinians from the nearby village of
According to security sources, a recent High Court of Justice
ruling mandated that the Palestinians be allowed to plough a tract of land near
the outpost. Aron Katsof, a resident of Esh Kodesh, said outpost inhabitants
have cultivated that field for 10 years and that the issue is still in the midst
of a legal dispute.
The army, he said, notified them at 10 p.m. on Monday
that Palestinians would arrive to work the land the next morning, said
In reaction to the news, women and children from the outpost went
to the field and held a picnic, said Katsof, who was at the scene during the
incident. He alleged that Border Police violently evicted Esh Kodesh residents
from the field, including shooting tear gas and stun grenades at the women and
Katsof added that the IDF tried to stop the Border Police from
targeting the women and children.
The Border Police said it had responded
to a stone-throwing incident involving Palestinians and settlers near Esh Kodesh
and had used riot dispersal means, denying that its officers had attacked women
Katsof provided The Jerusalem Post with video clips that
showed women and children in the field. In some of the footage, Border Police
officers could be seen hitting male settlers with a baton as they stood
Katsof said that Palestinians stood on a hill above the scene,
threw stones and at times sang nationalistic songs in Arabic about attacking Tel
He warned that the IDF and Border Police actions against the Esh
Kodesh residents only emboldened Palestinian hostility toward the outpost and
its residents lives.
Security sources in turn said they were
investigating an incident that occurred in the middle of the night in which
settlers vandalized about 100 trees belonging to the Kusra village. It further
alleged that the settlers entered the village and destroyed windows and
vandalized a tractor.
The Yesh Din NGO similarly told the Post that
settlers had attacked the village, including entering a home. It added that it
counted 220 vandalized olive trees.
Katsof denied the report, noting that
the IDF and Border Police were already watching the outpost overnight, and that
it would have been impossible for its residents to have engaged in such