PM, Gantz blast settler attack on IDF base

Netanyahu vows to deal with perpetrators of "unprecedented disturbance" with a heavy hand.

December 13, 2011 20:49
2 minute read.
PM Binyamin Netanyahu

PM Binyamin Netanyahu fisting_311. (photo credit: GPO)


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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz fiercely criticized Tuesday morning's settler violence against IDF property and personnel, with the prime minister vowing to deal with the perpetrators with a heavy hand.

Netanyahu called the storming of an IDF base in the West Bank an "unprecedented" disruption, and promised to "find these rioters."

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Speaking at the Conference for Alumni of the National Security Institute in Jerusalem, the prime minister said he had submitted a plan to the cabinet for dealing with the assailants.

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"We will combine investigative teams in the IDF, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the police and we will conquer this evil affliction," he said.

Gantz, who spoke before the prime minister, called the attack an "unfathomable absurdity", in his first reaction to the events of Monday night and Tuesday morning.

He said that the attack, together with Monday night's raid of an abandoned building along Israel's border with Jordan, were both severe events.

"These are violent disturbances," said Gantz. "The IDF that defends its people, found it had to defends itself against them. This is absurd beyond belief and I hope the perpetrators will be put to justice and I am convinced that the leaders and authorities will do everything necessary to achieve this."

Earlier, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrahi expressed shock at the violence , saying he had never seen "such hatred directed by Jews towards soldiers" in his 30 years in service.

"I served in the area, and I saw with my own eyes [activists] throwing rocks and attacking soldiers," Mizrahi said.

Mizrahi also noted that the event was not spontaneous, and that it was a direct reaction to the government mandate that the army clear illegally built outposts in Judea and Samaria.

The settlers and right-wing activists broke into the Efraim Regional Brigade Headquarters located near the settlement of Kedumim early Tuesday morning.

They punctured the tires of nearby military vehicles and hurled rocks at brigade commander Col. Ran Cahana as he drove nearby in his military jeep. He was not injured.

The infiltrators were pushed out of the base by IDF troops and Israel Police forces alerted to the scene.

One individual was arrested Tuesday morning for obstructing the entrance to the base with stones, according to police. The suspect, a Beit El resident born in 1991, resisted arrest.

The IDF said that it would not stop carrying out its operations in the West Bank and that "violence against soldiers would not deter it." The IDF said that it expected rabbinic and settler leaders to condemn the incident.

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