IDF: Israelis attack Palestinians, soldiers near West Bank's Homesh

The military report comes amid continued tension surrounding the hilltop.

 Visitors walk by the water tower on the ruins of the evacuated settlement of Homesh on August 27, 2019. (photo credit: HILLEL MAEIR/FLASH90)
Visitors walk by the water tower on the ruins of the evacuated settlement of Homesh on August 27, 2019.
(photo credit: HILLEL MAEIR/FLASH90)

Israelis near the West Bank Homesh hilltop have attacked Palestinians and three soldiers in recent days, the IDF said on Tuesday.

“In recent days, two violent incidents have taken place near the Homesh outpost in the area of the Samaria Regional Brigade,” the IDF stated.

On Saturday night, Israelis near a roadblock for Homesh threw stones at Palestinian vehicles, and an Israeli attacked one of the soldiers who attempted to intervene.

On Monday evening, an Israeli vehicle broke through a roadblock to Homesh, lightly injuring an officer and another soldier in the leg. None of the soldiers in either incident required medical attention, and information about the incidents had been referred to the police.

The IDF report comes amid continued tension surrounding that hilltop. The bulk of the land on Homesh belongs to Palestinians from the nearby village of Burka. It is also the site of the former Homesh settlement, which the government destroyed in 2005 after the Gaza Disengagement.

 Border police and settlers clash at West Bank Homesh hilltop. (credit: Berla Crombie) Border police and settlers clash at West Bank Homesh hilltop. (credit: Berla Crombie)

The Homesh Yeshiva situated in the settlement has illegally remained at the site in modular housing for 15 years.

There has been a renewed push by the Right to legalize the yeshiva and rebuild the settlement after a Palestinian gunman killed 25-year-old yeshiva student Yehuda Dimentman as he left the hilltop.

Residual violence in the area between settlers and Palestinians has also increased, with the police detaining eight suspects at Homesh earlier this month on suspicion of attacking soldiers and Palestinians.

A Homesh Yeshiva spokesperson accused the IDF of fabricating stories of attacks against Palestinians and soldiers, to justify a pending decision to shut down the yeshiva.

The army’s statement is an “ugly attempt to create friction between IDF soldiers and seminary students in order to prepare for the destruction of the yeshiva,” charged the spokesperson, and that the army “is knowingly lying” in order to blacken the yeshiva’s reputation.

The spokesperson noted that all eight suspects detained by police earlier this month had been released.

What is correct, the yeshiva spokesperson said, is that Palestinians have increased their Molotov cocktail and stoning attacks on Israeli vehicles heading to Homesh.

The army has been instructed to tighten its restrictions on the yeshiva, including preventing people from bringing water and diesel fuel to the site in vehicles. The yeshiva released a short video of yeshiva students carrying large plastic canisters of water and fuel to Homesh trudging past an army roadblock on Monday.

It released photos of a new IDF roadblock to the area, set up on Tuesday morning.

The hilltop is a closed military zone, and an edict prevents Israelis from entering the site. Still, the IDF has allowed a small number of seminary teachers and students onto the Homesh hilltop on a daily basis, based on an authorized list.

According to the seminary spokesperson, the IDF blocked Homesh Yeshiva head Rabbi Elishama Cohen from bringing two students to the seminary on Tuesday who were not on the list. It also barred his vehicle from continuing to the hilltop.

The spokesperson further charged that soldiers attacked seminary students at the roadblock.

The yeshiva called on the government to “stop the madness... the sooner the better.”