Netanyahu condemns Jewish violence against IDF after two soldiers injured

Peretz says these are “terror attacks” and calls for FADC Meeting

IDF soldiers of the Golani Brigade train for scenarios involving enemies similar to Hezbollah. (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF soldiers of the Golani Brigade train for scenarios involving enemies similar to Hezbollah.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  and other leaders condemned two separate attacks by Jewish extremists against IDF forces near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, in which two soldiers were slightly injured.
The attacks occurred within 48 hours of each other, one on Friday morning and the other on Sunday morning.
The latter attack set off a wave of political responses in support of the soldiers.
“I want to stand by the IDF soldiers and commanders who are working around-the-clock to defend the security of all Israeli citizens without exception,” Netanyahu said. “I strongly condemn any assault on IDF soldiers. There will be no tolerance for lawbreakers who raise a hand to our soldiers.”
Labor-Gesher Party leader Amir Peretz called on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee to immediately meet to discuss violence against IDF soldiers near Yitzhar.
In a letter he wrote to FADC chairman MK Gabi Ashkenazi of Blue and White, Peretz said Netanyahu should be asked to attend the meeting.
“These events, which are often repeated, should be treated as acts of terror in the full sense of the word – and as such, they should be dealt with accordingly and uncompromisingly,” Peretz said.
The IDF’s response is insufficient in light of the conduct of the government and Netanyahu, Peretz wrote. Labor activists held a rally in support of the IDF and against “Jewish terror” on Monday night next to Kirya Military Headquarters in Tel Aviv.
The IDF declared that the Kumo Ori outpost near Yitzhar is a closed military zone, a military spokeswoman said on Monday night. Early Sunday morning, some 30 settlers attacked soldiers near Yitzhar, 10 km. south of Nablus. They threw stones, slashed a jeep’s tires and slightly injured one of the soldiers, the military reported.
Separately on Friday, the commander of the Golani Brigade’s Reconnaissance Battalion was attacked by right-wing extremists near the entrance to settlement.
According to the IDF, settlers on Friday blocked the path of an army vehicle. One of the settlers opened the door of the vehicle and threatened those inside it, the IDF said.
The unit commander confronted the settlers, the army said, alleging that one of them attacked him.
While the IDF condemned the incident, the settlers denied attacking the commander saying the incident was “purely verbal,” and that the alleged attacker “did not know it was a battalion commander.”
The IDF arrested a suspect in the attack on Friday night during Shabbat. The suspect was released on Sunday. Almost immediately after Sunday’s attack, Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan headed to the scene to meet with the soldiers.
He hugged them and made clear that the attack did not represent the feelings of Yitzhar’s residents.
Those who live in the Samaria region and the Yitzhar community are in solidarity with the soldiers, Dagan said, and those youths who attacked the soldiers are largely not from Yitzhar and must be made to “leave this area.”
Later in the day, he led a small rally of Yitzhar residents who stood in support of the soldiers by the gate of the Samaria Brigade.
The “reckless boys” who threw stones at IDF soldiers harmed not only the soldiers but the community of Yitzhar, Dagan said.
The “residents of Yitzhar are here to say: Enough! Stop tarnishing us,” he said.
Blue and White Party leader Benny Gantz condemned the attack on the soldiers, saying: “As a former chief of staff and as a commander of the IDF for decades, I send a message to all the soldiers and commanders that are guarding us on this festival in the North, South, Judea and Samaria, and everywhere around the country: the people of Israel and the citizens of Israel support and strengthen you.”
IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi condemned the severe attack and promised to find those involved and bring them to justice. The IDF said Kochavi additionally spoke with Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Nadav Argaman about working together to end this phenomenon.
“There is a small handful of delinquent youth against whom we must act,” said Central Command Cmdr. Maj.-Gen. Nadav Padan.
“I condemn every event in which soldiers, commanders and civilians are attacked with physical or verbal violence. The IDF and security forces in the Central Command are working in full cooperation with the Samaria Regional Council to avoid such actions and to ensure security for the residents in the region.”
Events of this nature distract the army from their essential mission of securing the area and protecting Israeli citizens, the army added. The generals met with Dagan and held a meeting to discuss current developments in the field.
Tensions in that area have historically been high between settlers and the IDF, and were exacerbated in the last week after Golani infantry soldiers responded to a violent clash between settlers and olive harvesters near Yitzhar.
Rabbis for Human Rights reported that five of its volunteers were attacked with crowbars, allegedly by Jewish extremists, while participating in the annual harvest alongside Palestinians from the nearby village of Burin. Among those harmed was 80-year-old Rabbi Moshe Yehudai.
Yehudai was evacuated by a Red Crescent ambulance and treated for a broken arm.
A resident of Yitzhar was arrested for allegedly participating in the attack, but was released from custody.
The suspect claimed that he was “attacked” by an officer during his interrogation.
Joint List MK Aida Touma-Sliman chastised right-wing politicians for speaking out only when Jewish extremists attack soldiers, but not Palestinians.
“The right-wing governments’ silence with regard to settler crimes against the Palestinians has made them feel that they are above the law, and therefore it is clear that they will be ready to confront soldiers as well,” said Touma-Sliman, and that the attack against the soldiers “is the result of the tireless support that the government gives to the settlers. When the settlers attack Palestinians and activists on a daily basis, and terrorize those who work hard, no one stands up in protest. But when their stones are directed at soldiers – the entire right-wing establishment rushes to condemn.”
KAN news reported on Monday night that settlers had attacked border police in the area of Yitzhar, who were part reinforcement forces sent to the area in the aftermath of attacks by Jewish extremists against IDF soldiers.