IDF, far-right settlers clash during razing of illegal structures in West Bank

Security forces descend on Yitzhar, just south of the Palestinian city of Nablus, and destroy four illegal buildings.

April 8, 2014 08:13
2 minute read.
Border Police in Yitzhar [file]

Border Police in Yitzhar 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Reserves army post ransacked by settlers at Yitzhar, April 8, Photo: IDF
Reserves army post ransacked by settlers at Yitzhar, April 8, Photo: IDF

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 in the community.

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.

Following the clashes, settlers attacked a military post near Yitzhar set up to defend the settlement.

Security sources said that two of the structures destroyed 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.

Israel Radio reported that six Border Policemen were lightly injured in the incident. Four of them were treated on site, and the other two were taken to hospital. No arrests were made.

The razing of the structures took place just 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."

A spokesperson for the Yitzhar settlement, which is considered one of the more ideologically extreme clusters of religious Jews in the West Bank, told Army Radio: “The [government’s] policy of destruction and collective punishment aimed at the residents of Yitzhar is outrageous. It is inconceivable that the Israeli government and the security forces will raze homes belonging to innocents as price tag and revenge for the grave acts committed by a few people.”

“As part of its effort to enforce law and order in Judea and Samaria, the army undertook operations to confiscate and destroy five illegally built structures in Yitzhar,” the IDF tweeted on its Hebrew Twitter feed.

“During the course of the operation, hundreds of settlers were engaged in violent and disorderly acts that included the hurling of stones, the burning of tires, and the blocking of roads,” the army spokesperson tweeted. “The security forces used crowd-dispersing methods.”

“After the operation, a military post was attacked by settlers,” the army said. “We take a grave view of any attempt to harm the security forces, who came to the area to do their job and enforce law and order.”

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