Border police and settlers clash

Border cop injured in W.

tzofim settlers border police 248 88 (photo credit: Courtesy of the Council of Samaria Settlers)
tzofim settlers border police 248 88
(photo credit: Courtesy of the Council of Samaria Settlers)
A border policewoman was moderately wounded and three settlers were arrested at the Tzufim settlement on Tuesday during a violent clash, which broke out as civil administration officials confiscated a bulldozer. It is the most serious incident of violence between settlers and security forces since the 10-month moratorium on new settlement construction began at the end of November. Watch footage of clashes between settlers, security forces in Tzofim: Two other policemen were lightly hurt in the incident, as were 11 settlers. Judea and Samaria Police said 60 youths blocked the entrance to Tzufim in Samaria, burning tires, placing large rocks and sitting on the road. The Border Police said that violence broke out when they tried to remove the activists. A border policewoman was assaulted by settlers and sustained moderate injuries, police allege. She was taken to the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba for treatment. Three people were arrested for allegedly assaulting police officers. Two of the suspects are believed to have attacked the policewoman. The suspects were taken to the Samaria police station for questioning. But settlers contend that the civil administrators were allowed to enter the settlement peacefully, and that the trouble began only when they tried to confiscate a bulldozer that was working on a sewage project. One settler, Yitzhak Basel of Tzufim, said the project had the proper permits and that the "objective of the operation was simply to provoke." The project is permitted and the work did not begin yesterday, said Basel. "We told them that we were working according to the law, and they were not willing to listen; they simply brought more forces," said Basel. Only when all dialogue failed, he said, did area residents block the road. The incident, which began around 2 p.m., he said, lasted for four or five hours. A video, which the settlers shot and which was posted on YouTube, showed Border Police clearing away a number of wooden maroon picnic tables that had been placed in their path. In some instances settlers also sat on the tables and had to be dragged away. In one shot, Border Police can be seen pulling a settler to the ground. "There has never been anything like this here," said Tzufim resident Seymour Levert. He arrived in the settlement at around 5:30 p.m., after the incident had already been under way for several hours. A truck was sitting on the road and the kids had blocked it, he said. He charged that the police "beat the crap" out of 14- and 10-year-old children. One settler charged that it was a settler who had led the operation for the Border Police. Resident Gila Slonim said that when she came home from work around 5 p.m., the gate was closed and she could not drive in. "I left the car and walked in. I saw the bulldozer in back of a huge truck. It was backing into people full force. It was the most frightening thing I had seen in my life," Slonim said. Then the truck tried to move forward and people moved to the front and tried to block it from that direction, she said. There was some attempt at negotiations, which failed, she said. Police then pulled people off the road. "There was a lot of violence and beating up of women and children," she charged. She added that her settlement was quiet and law-abiding. Located in Samaria, 1.8 km. from the green line, Tzufim was created in 1989 and is home to 1,200 people.