After Migron demolitions, settlers take revenge at IDF base

Senior gov't leaders and the heads of the settlement movement condemn the infiltration of army base during which 13 vehicles were damaged.

By
September 8, 2011 02:24
3 minute read.
Price tag vandalism (illustrative)

price tag 311. (photo credit: Tovah Lazaroff)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu strongly condemned the “price tag” attack at an army base outside the Beit El settlement early on Wednesday morning, in retribution for the demolition of three homes at the Migron outpost two days earlier.

It’s the first time that a “price tag” attack has targeted a military base. Both senior government leaders and the heads of the settlement movement condemned the infiltration of the army base during which 13 vehicles were damaged.

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“This was an abhorrent crime directed against commanders and vehicles, the mission of which is to protect the lives of Israeli civilians in Judea and Samaria,” Netanyahu said in a statement.

In the past, right-wing extremists have punctured the tires of military jeeps, torched a military vehicle and even thrown a fire bomb at one, but they have never infiltrated a base.

Late Wednesday evening, two Jewish civilians were apprehended near an IDF base north of Ramallah. Police were interrogating them to determine whether they had any connection to the attack.

According to the IDF, the vandals “punctured tires, shattered windows and sprayed graffiti [that spoke] against IDF commanders and against dismantling of structures in the Jewish community of Migron earlier this week.”

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“Diverting anger toward military officials with the objective of deterring them from carrying out legal operations, and government and Supreme Court decisions, is unacceptable and reprehensible,” OC Central Command Maj.- Gen. Avi Mizrahi said. “I intend, along with the law enforcement authorities, to apprehend those responsible for the incident and bring them to justice.”

Detectives from Judea and Samaria Police, as well as a forensics team, went to the base on Wednesday and gathered evidence.

In addition, the Military Police opened an investigation to see whether the attackers had help from soldiers inside the base.

“We are viewing this unequivocally as a criminal incident,” a police spokeswoman told The Jerusalem Post.

The investigation could soon be handed over to the Judea and Samaria Police’s central unit, which handles serious cases.

The infiltration of the base marks the second “price tag” attack this week. On Monday, vandals set fire to a mosque in Kusra, 28 km. southeast of Nablus, damaging the ground floor.

They also wrote graffiti on a wall linking the attack to Migron.

Israel Police Insp.-Gen.

Yochanan Danino has set up a task force to tackle far-Right elements in the West Bank suspected of being behind the string of recent attacks carried out in response to demolitions at illegal outposts.

The task force will be made up of officers from the elite Lahav 433 unit and the Judea and Samaria Police.

The radical elements are suspected of “setting fire to a mosque, damaging IDF vehicles, uprooting trees and spray painting graffiti,” police said in a statement.

The task force will be charged with “reaching those behind the ‘price tag’ incidents, who are challenging the rule of law through their acts, and bringing them to justice,” police said.

The Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip said Wednesday’s incident was a serious crime that greatly damaged the long-term interests of the settlement movement.

But not everyone on the Right and in the settlement movement condemned it. Some settlers said both Netanyahu and the IDF bore responsibility for the attacks on the military base and the mosque through their acts of incitement in Migron.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni said, “These actions against the IDF have crossed the red line.

These hate crimes must stop.”

Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the vandalism was “an act of terror.”

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the “criminal” actions of the hooligans at the military base and the mosque only served to escalate violence at an already sensitive time.

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