Heads of the Samaria
settlement of Eilon Moreh have accused the police of harassing residents there by erecting a police roadblock at the entrance to the community and inspecting all passing cars to check if they were properly equipped for the coming winter.
"They are harassing and punishing us," said Benny Katzover, one of the settlement's leaders. "They are doing this to get back at us."
Katzover said the police's "winter operation" was the government's way of avenging the violent clashes between settlers and security forces during the recent evacuation of an illegal outpost near Eilon Moreh.
"Every time we clash with them they come after us with roadblocks and car inspections," he said. "Already several months ago in the run-up to the disengagement they did this and the winter was not even on the horizon."
Settlers said four patrol cars and close to 20 policemen were stationed at the entrance to the settlement last week. According to Katzover, the policemen pulled over every car - entering and exiting the settlement - checked the occupant's identity cards and in most cases slapped the drivers with heavy fines.
"They stopped everybody for close to 30 minutes and in some cases even took away people's driving licenses," he said. "They are insulting our intelligence by trying to say that it is just winter car inspections."
Police rejected the criticism claiming the roadblock was part of a large-scale crackdown on traffic criminals in the run-up to the winter season, when driving in the territories is especially dangerous.
"They are making a big deal about nothing," one officer said. "Last Tuesday alone we had roadblocks at the entrances to Ma'aleh Adumin, Mitzpe Yeriho and Eilon Moreh. We are certainly not just going after them."