Right-wing extremists attack IDF base in West Bank

Jewish rioters protest planned demolition of Ramat Gilad.

Israeli police scuffle with settlers_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Israeli police scuffle with settlers_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
In a series of “price-tag” incidents, angry right wing extremists in the Samaria area of the West Bank attacked a military base, two IDF commanders and Palestinian vehicles late Monday night and early Tuesday morning to protest the pending demolition of the unauthorized Ramat Gilad outpost.
These organized incidents by “Jewish rioters” were very “serious,” OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrahi told reporters on Tuesday afternoon.
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“I personally saw the people, the rioters, that threw stones and cursed our soldiers and commanders.
I have not seen such hatred of Jews toward soldiers during my 30 years of service,” he said.
On Monday night, for the second night in a row, a series of SMS messages and telephone calls alerted activists of troop movement in the Samaria area consistent with pre-evacuation activity.
In response, around 11:30 p.m. right-wing extremists attacked Palestinian cars in the Samaria area and injured one Palestinian woman, according to security sources.
On Route 55, the Israeli extremists surrounded an IDF vehicle. At one point, an extremist opened the vehicle’s door and threw a rock at the commander of the Ephraim Brigade, Col. Ran Cahana, according to security sources.
An IDF spokesman said that at that time, they received numerous reports of rock throwing incidents against Palestinians; not all of which were confirmed.
Around 12:30 a.m. Tuesday some 30-50 Israeli extremists, including many teens, broke into the Ephraim brigade headquarters, located down a small road from the Kedumim settlement in Samaria, according to security sources.
Most of the combat soldiers normally stationed there were involved in activities outside the base, Mizrahi said.
The extremists burned tires, spread nails on a road and threw stones and paint bottles at vehicles, the IDF spokesman said.
According to Mizrahi they also punctured the tires of two vehicles. A rock was also thrown at the deputy brigade commander Harpaz Zur.
The rioters, he said, yelled at Zur, whose grandmother is a Holocaust survivor, that he was a “Nazi.”
As Mizrahi spoke with reporters outside the Ephraim brigade he defended the actions of those soldiers on the base, who did not arrest the extremists.
Their first priority, he said, was to defend the base, by forcing the vandals out. In some cases, they tussled with the activists and physically forced them out, he said.
According to Border Police, one 20-year-old resident of Beit El was arrested for trying to block an access road to the base by placing stones across it.
Mizrahi said the Ephraim Brigade headquarters are there so soldiers can work day and night to defend Israeli citizens in the area against terror attacks. The ID0F, he said, should not have to “protect the base from Jewish rioters.” Israeli forces have a responsibility to uphold the law and to execute government orders, such as the demolition of outposts, he said. Order, Mizrahi said, has to be restored before the severity of these incidents increase.
“If the government orders us to evacuate Ramat Gilad, we will do it,” he said.
He called on settlement leaders to do more to halt such attacks.
“I have not heard a serious enough condemnation,” he said.
But Dani Dayan, who heads the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, said Tuesday that such actions were shameful.
Dayan personally called Cahana to apologize and told him that he understands how hard he works to safeguard Israeli lives.
The “price-tag” attack against the Ephraim Brigade is the second such incident against an army base. In September vandals infiltrated an IDF base outside the Beit El settlement in the Binyamin region of the West Bank. They punctured tires and torched a vehicle.
Most often Palestinians are the target of “price tag” attacks, in which right-wing extremists seek retribution for IDF actions against settlers and settlement activity.
In addition to the price tag attacks in Samaria late Monday night and early Tuesday morning, a number of Jewish worshipers illegally entered the Palestinian city of Nablus to pray at Joseph’s Tomb.
Also on Monday night, in the Jordan Valley, some 30 right-wing extremists executed a more unusual “price-tag” attack to protest Jordan’s appeal to Israel not to close the Mugrabi Bridge that leads to the Temple Mount.
They breached the security barrier between Israel and Jordan, but did not cross the international border.
They tried to create an outpost in an abandoned building by the Jordan River.
They were evacuated by the IDF and the border police early Tuesday morning. Police arrested 17 of the activists but had released all but seven as of Tuesday night.