Settlers torched Palestinian car, attacked IDF soldiers in West Bank

A vehicle belonging to Palestinian West Bank resident Rajeh Hussein Al-Safadi was torched by Israeli settlers.

 Palestinians examine a burned vehicle set on fire by unknown attackers overnight, in the village of Orif, in the West Bank, February 15, 2023.  (photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)
Palestinians examine a burned vehicle set on fire by unknown attackers overnight, in the village of Orif, in the West Bank, February 15, 2023.
(photo credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)

Settlers assaulted IDF soldiers after torching a Palestinian vehicle near the village of Urif early Wednesday morning, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit announced on Thursday.

Palestinian media reported on Wednesday that a vehicle belonging to Palestinian West Bank resident Rajeh Hussein Al-Safadi was torched by Israeli settlers.

The settlers were spotted by IDF lookouts as they were departing the settlement of Yitzhar towards the Palestinian village.

IDF soldiers who arrived at the scene were blocked from entering the village by settlers in a vehicle. An argument broke out and the IDF attempted to arrest the driver, but others in the car managed to help him escape.

The soldiers began chasing after the settlers who escaped from the scene. During the chase, another car came from Yitzhar and sped toward the soldiers, almost running them over. The driver shouted at the soldiers and drove away.

Palestinians examine a burned vehicle set on fire by unknown attackers overnight, in the village of Orif, in the West Bank, February 15, 2023.  (credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)Palestinians examine a burned vehicle set on fire by unknown attackers overnight, in the village of Orif, in the West Bank, February 15, 2023. (credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)

One of the settlers then called for "backup" from Yitzhar, and another 15 vehicles came to the scene and blocked off and disrupted the soldiers.

A physical and verbal altercation broke out at the scene, with the settlers pushing, cursing at and blocking the way of the soldiers. At one point they attempted to break into military vehicles.

"The IDF condemns any display of violence against soldiers and security forces. The security forces will continue to work to maintain security, law and order in Judea and Samaria, and will work to prevent violence and harm to citizens and residents," said the IDF Spokesperson's Unit in response.

Settlers attack IDF in increasing numbers

IDF soldiers have been attacked by settlers repeatedly in recent months in the West Bank.

In November, a female IDF soldier was attacked by Israelis in Hebron as Israelis in the city marked the Shabbat when Parshat Chayei Sarah is read. 

The soldier was attacked during a confrontation between Israeli worshippers and Palestinians at the entrance to the tomb of Otniel Ben Knaz, the first biblical judge of Israel.

In October, the commander of the IDF’s 202nd Paratrooper Battalion and a soldier were wounded by settlers who pepper-sprayed them in the Palestinian town of Huwara near Nablus.

The battalion arrived in Huwara in the predawn hours to quell a violent settler riot against Palestinians in a town that serves as one of the commercial hubs for the area.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.