IDF bans extremists from entering West Bank

Order comes amid IDF fears of settler violence surrounding Palestinian statehood bid; Police, Shin Bet warn hilltop youths' parents

September 22, 2011 13:26
2 minute read.
Hilltop youth [illustrative]

Hilltop youth [illustrative] 311 (R). (photo credit: REUTERS/Nir Elias)

The IDF continued to crack down on right-wing extremists Thursday, banning one from entering the West Bank and deploying additional forces at two flash points in an effort to prevent clashes between settlers and Palestinians.

The restraining order was issued by OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrachi against Meir Ettinger, the grandson of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, banning him from entering Judea and Samaria for four months.

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Ettinger is a far-Right activist who spends most of his time in the illegal Migron outpost, where three homes were demolished by the Israel Police on September 5.

The decision to bar Ettinger from the West Bank was made amid concerns that settler violence could ignite the area and lead to an escalation in violence surrounding the Palestinian’s current bid for statehood.

In addition, the IDF has deployed army and Border Police units outside the Samaria settlements of Yitzhar and Shilo, where it thinks settler-Palestinian violence could erupt in the coming weeks.

Clashes broke out outside Yitzhar, near Nablus, on Thursday, when settlers began throwing rocks at Palestinians. Soldiers quickly arrived and dispersed the crowd.

Last month, Mizrachi issued 12 restraining orders banning settlers from the West Bank. The orders are issued after receiving the approval of the Attorney- General’s Office and are signed by Mizrachi.

“There is real concern about the potential for more violence,” a senior IDF source said on Thursday. “The orders are issued after careful scrutiny and a comprehensive legal review.”

The IDF is continuing to reinforce its forces in the West Bank.

On Thursday, the Paratroop Brigade’s 202nd Battalion completed training ahead of its planned deployment outside Nablus next week. In the coming days, it will undergo riot control training at the Central Command’s Lahish Training Base.

By the end of the month, the entire brigade will have deployed in the West Bank together with additional IDF units allocated to the Central Command to contain Palestinian protests expected to break out following a declaration of statehood at the United Nations.

“So far, the Palestinian security forces are working to contain the events inside Palestinian cities, and I hope this will continue over the coming days,” Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz said on Thursday.

“Either way, the IDF is prepared to defend Israeli citizens from any enemy on any front.”

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