IDF to remove Yitzhar perimeter

Maj. Gen. Naveh: Settlers violated deal by destroying expensive equipment.

yitzhar confrontation298 (photo credit: AP [file])
yitzhar confrontation298
(photo credit: AP [file])
The IDF plans to dismantle the security fence encompassing the settlement of Yitzhar after its residents destroyed surveillance cameras and other electronic equipment. OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh decided to remove the fence and early warning system that was constructed to enhance the settlers' security some years ago. Settlers claimed that the surveillance cameras were placed to monitor their activities rather then enhance their security, and the community made the decision to demand their removal. After security forces discovered the equipment had been damaged, Naveh made the decision to remove it. While Central Command officials confirmed the decision, they were unable to divulge when the fence will be dismantled. Yigal Amitay, a resident of Yitzhar for 17 years and the community's spokesman, said bluntly, "There is no fence to take down and never was one." The settlers' decision to do without government-supplied security is a first among legal settlements. But according to Amitay, "the residents here are willing to accept the danger." "We would not recommend such an act," said Helik Navon, spokesman for the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. "Our primary goal is security. Residents [of settlements] have to put security before everything." The IDF is tasked with providing Jewish residents of the West Bank with security, and it should be allowed to do its job, added Navon. But that is the point, say Yitzhar locals. Ever since the IDF packed up its post in Yitzhar in January, patrols through the settlement itself have become increasingly sporadic. Naveh and Judea and Samaria Police Cmdr. Yisrael Yitzhak yanked the paratroop company stationed at the settlement after residents ransacked the soldiers' base. They attacked soldiers, punctured IDF vehicles, and cut off the water supply. In April a Border Police unit began patrolling the settlement, but locals felt that the patrols monitored settler activity rather than guarding against possible Palestinian attacks.