Left-wing group forced to cancel Hebron tour

Police say they can't guarantee safety of Breaking the Silence members from violent attacks by settlers.

Nablus gunmen 224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Nablus gunmen 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Members of the left-wing group Breaking the Silence were forced to cancel their tour of Hebron on Friday after police said they could not guarantee their safety amid concerns of violent attacks by settlers. It comes after dozens of settlers and other right-wing activists blocked the group's tour bus. Police did not manage to disperse the crowd and no arrests were made. Following the tour's cancellation, Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On urged Public Security Minister Avi Dichter to order the police to boost law enforcement against "lawless settlers." "Police relate to the Jewish neighborhood in Hebron as a canton that is a law unto itself," said Gal-On. In related news, the Kfar Saba Magistrate's Court extended the remand by three days on Thursday of two settler teens accused of assaulting Palestinians and damaging property. The boys, aged 15 and 16, entered Ein Abus near Nablus on Wednesday night, damaged locks, attempted to steal property, and assaulted two Palestinians, causing them grievous bodily harm, police said. Sources in the IDF Central Command said that the two - from Yitzhar and Elon Moreh - entered the village in the middle of the night in a car filled with tires that they planned to use as fuel to burn down stores and homes. "This is a very serious offense - two people are in hospital because they were assaulted by the youths," a police spokesman said. "They are not cooperating with the police. We have extended their custody until Sunday." The two boys were apprehended by local Palestinians who began to beat them. The Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria received a call from Palestinian residents, and the army stormed the area, saving the pair from a possible lynch. The teens then told the IDF that they had been abducted and forced into the village. They also claimed that a friend was also abducted and was missing. Large police and military forces were deployed and began searching for the duo's friend. After two hours, adults from Yitzhar succeeded in convincing the youths to confess that they had made up the story. A police officer said the boys entered the village in a car with Israeli license plates, and then crashed into a pole as they attempted to escape. "The youths claimed they had been the victim of a lynch - they mobilized half of the country with their claim," the officer added.