Shin Bet: Settlers threw firebomb at IDF jeep

Shin Bet Settlers threw

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) is investigating a Molotov cocktail attack on a military jeep, which occurred Sunday during a violent clash between settlers and security forces at the unauthorized Gilad Farm outpost in the West Bank. Although the incident received wide media attention on Sunday, the Shin Bet waited until Tuesday night before it announced that during the fray, settlers had thrown a firebomb at an army jeep. Sources in the IDF's Central Command said that the Molotov cocktail attack was the first time in recent years that settlers used such extreme means against soldiers. The firebomb is said to have landed close to the jeep, without causing damage, and a fire erupted but was quickly extinguished. "These settlers have forgotten what it means to live in a state of law," said an IDF officer. "They think everything is permissible." The sources said that the firebomb was considered a major escalation and was an example of the fierce resistance security forces would likely face when trying to evacuate 23 illegal outposts erected after March 2001. Located outside of the Kedumim settlement, Gilad Farm is among those outposts slated for removal. IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi has said he would prefer that the Border Police carry out the physical evacuation when it occurs in the coming months. Itai Zar, whose family owns and created the outpost and was present during Sunday's clashes, disputed the Shin Bet's claim. He said that he had not witnessed any Molotov cocktail attack and that no one from his outpost, which is home to 20 families and a small yeshiva, had thrown a firebomb. The incident started Sunday when a civil administration representative saw settlers moving a caravan from one end of the outpost to another. The settlers reportedly ignored his request that the caravan be returned to its original spot. Security forces, including border policemen and soldiers, were immediately dispatched to the scene. Central Command sources said that dozens of settlers and far-right activists accosted the civil administration official as well as security forces. A border policeman was lightly hurt in the ensuing scuffle, and treated at Kfar Saba's Meir Hospital. Settlers also punctured the tire of a security vehicle, they said. Settlers, in turn, charged that they had been physically assaulted by security personnel, but no casualties were reported.