Palestinians injured in violent clashes near Homesh

Settlers protest demolition of homes on Homesh hilltop

 Palestinians protest against Jewish settlements, in Burqa village, December 24, 2021 (photo credit: REUTERS/RANEEN SAWAFTA)
Palestinians protest against Jewish settlements, in Burqa village, December 24, 2021
(photo credit: REUTERS/RANEEN SAWAFTA)

Dozens of Palestinians were injured in clashes with soldiers on Saturday night in the village of Burka, which the IDF has closed off since Thursday.

Reports had the number of wounded, mostly from tear gas inhalation, at anywhere from 68 to 130. Clashes began when Palestinians protested the prolonged closures, due to activity by settlers and right-wing activists on the nearby Homesh hilltop.

The IDF said that it used riot dispersal methods against Palestinians in Burka after stones and Molotov cocktails were thrown at soldiers. Burning tires were also used and that gun shots could be heard.

One soldier was lightly injured. In one instance soldiers used live fire, the army said adding that one Palestinian was injured as a result.

The IDF has also closed off the nearby village of Silat a-Dahar, according to the left-wing group Yesh Din.

Tensions have been high in the area since Palestinian terrorists attacked an Israeli car as it left the Homesh hilltop in the direction of the Shavei Shomron settlement, killing Yehuda Dimentman, 25, and lightly injuring two others.

Dimentman was a student at the Homesh Yeshiva, an illegal modular seminary that has existed on that hilltop for over 15 years.

 Family and friends attend the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman at Har HaMenuchot Cemetery in Jerusalem on December 17, 2021, Dimentman died in last night shooting attack near Homesh. (credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON/FLASH90) Family and friends attend the funeral of Yehuda Dimentman at Har HaMenuchot Cemetery in Jerusalem on December 17, 2021, Dimentman died in last night shooting attack near Homesh. (credit: NOAM REVKIN FENTON/FLASH90)

Since his death, his family and the Israeli Right have called on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to legalize the yeshiva and to rebuild the Homesh settlement that the IDF destroyed in 2005 after the Gaza pullout.

The northern Samaria settlement was evacuated as part of the disengagement plan. It had been built, however, on private Palestinian property that belongs to the village of Burka.

The High Court of Justice has upheld the rights of the property owners to farm their land on that hilltop.

On Thursday, thousands of right-wing activists marched up the hilltop and a second march is expected late Saturday night.

On Friday, Border Police and the Civil Administration demolished two modular structures on the hilltop that were built in the past week.

They also prevented settlers from bringing water containers to the site. The IDF has reimposed a closed military order on the area and in the last week set up a temporary base on the hilltop.