5 pro-settlement extremists indicted for attacking IDF base

Rightist MKs condemn indictments against activists.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
January 9, 2012 02:52
3 minute read.
IDF clashes with protesters [illustrative]

Israeli police scuffle with settlers_311. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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Five right-wing activists were indicted on Sunday for allegedly using information from active-duty soldiers to plan a “price-tag” attack on the Ephraim Brigade base in the West Bank last month.

Jerusalem district prosecutors charged the suspects with collecting important military intelligence, conspiracy to riot, entering a closed military zone and direct involvement in the attack on the Ephraim Brigade base.

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According to the prosecution, the activists planned to stop the army’s demolition of illegal outposts by creating large clashes with troops, distracting them from the demolitions.

The men were identified as David Tzvi Eliyahu, 17; Meir Etinger, 18; Akiva Pinchas Hacohen, 27; Ephraim Moshe Chaykin, 18; and Elad Meir, 36.

According to the indictment, the army had planned to evacuate parts of the Mitzpe Yitzhar outpost on December 12, but the plans were sabotaged by the attack on the Ephraim Brigade. The right-wing extremists orchestrated a series of events, including attacking an IDF car on Route 55 carrying the commander of the Ephraim Brigade, several rock throwing incidents against Palestinians and organizing a bus in order for 50 activists to storm the Ephraim Brigade base where extremists burned tires, spread nails on a road and threw stones and paint bottles at vehicles.

According to the indictment, the men organized a “war room” in an apartment they shared, which had classified aerial maps, information about deployments and movement of troops, and other classified information. The men also allegedly operated a hotline for concerned activists to call whenever they saw troop movement consistent with outpost evacuations.



Investigators also found that coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) sent a text message to settler leaders that read “it is not Ramat Gilad” on December 12.

Elkin explained that he was simply answering those who asked him if agreement between the government and settlers to delay the demolition of homes in the Ramat Gilad outpost had been delayed.

He added that his message was meant to calm those who were springing to action by refuting the rumors of outpost dismantling.

MK Uri Ariel (National Union) accused the “dark regime” of the police and Attorney-General’s Office of attempting to taking away citizens’ right to try to protect their homes.

“Apparently, sending text messages is more serious than the seditious and dangerous activities of [Balad MK] Haneen Zoabi,” Ariel said. “I hope there are enough prison cells for all of the residents of Judea and Samaria that send text messages occasionally.”

Last week, Ariel said to the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee: “I am a spy,” adding that he has sent text messages about forces en route to demolish outpost homes. The MK called for the police to put him on trial, along with the others.

National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari called the spying charges further proof of the “persecution” of settlers.

“At this rate, the next person to be arrested will be the head of the Yesha Council, and Peace Now will clap hands once again,” he quipped.

Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer called on Elkin to apologize to IDF soldiers for his “inappropriate” contact with settlers.

“Elkin’s cooperation with right-wing extremists is even more dangerous than MKs aboard the [Gaza-bound] Marmara flotilla [in 2010],” Oppenheimer said.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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