(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
As celebrations died down on Israel's 62nd Independence Day, residents of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar rioted on Tuesday evening and attacked IDF soldiers, lightly wounding one of them.
According to the IDF, the settlers left Yitzhar intending to make their way to the Palestinian village of Madama, south of Nablus, apparently intending to protest the government-imposed ten-month settlement building freeze. A clash ensued after security forces tried to prevent the settlers from going any further. They refused to turn back and leave the village area even when they were told they were about to enter a closed military zone.
As tensions between the settlers and the soldiers - five troops from the Nahal Brigade - began to flare, about a hundred more settlers arrived at the scene and began to hurl rocks at the soldiers. The IDF reported that they also attacked the soldiers with their bare hands.
One soldier was lightly wounded in the face when a paint bottle was hurled at him.
The settlers were dispersed by Border Police and civilian policemen who
were called to the scene to back the soldiers up. Police said a boy was
taken in for questioning in connection with the skirmish after he was
seen puncturing the tire of an army vehicle.
"This violence against soldiers constitutes an intolerable crossing of a red
line on Israel's day of celebration, Yom Haatzmaut. This intolerable and
irregular behavior will be dealt with with a firm hand," read a
statement released by the IDF Spokesperson following the incident. The
statement went on to deny that live ammunition had been employed against