Zero tolerance for violence Gantz says after settlers attack police

Three police vehicles were damaged and an officer was injured when settler extremists threw stones at his jeep to protest the demolition of a tent near Yitzhar.

An illegal settlement built by Israeli settlers near the near the Yitzhar settlement in the Samaria region. (photo credit: BORDER POLICE SPOKESPERSON)
An illegal settlement built by Israeli settlers near the near the Yitzhar settlement in the Samaria region.
(photo credit: BORDER POLICE SPOKESPERSON)

There is “zero tolerance for violence” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Tuesday after a Border Police officer was lightly injured by settler extremists who threw stones at his jeep to protest the demolition by security forces of a tent near the Yitzhar settlement.

“This is a serious incident” that can not become routine, Gantz said as he toured Division 98. “I fully support the fighters [security forces] in the field who are carrying out their mission to maintain security and order for Jews and Palestinians alike,” Gantz said.

Three police vehicles were damaged in the attack that occurred Monday when Border Police and the group of settler extremists clashed during the evacuation of the tent, which was illegally situated in a closed military zone.

As Border Police left the scene, a number of the Jewish extremists threw rocks and paint bombs at the vehicle, which shattered a window.

The Border Police officer was injured from flying glass and was treated at the scene.

Metal spikes were also placed on the road in an attempt to further harm the vehicles, the Border Police said.Officers used riot dispersal means to quell the violence, police said.

 A Border Police officer was lightly injured after settler extremists threw stones at his jeep to protest the demolition by security forces of a tent near the Yitzhar settlement. (credit: BORDER POLICE) A Border Police officer was lightly injured after settler extremists threw stones at his jeep to protest the demolition by security forces of a tent near the Yitzhar settlement. (credit: BORDER POLICE)
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Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev and IDF Chief-of-Staff Aviv Kohavi condemned the attack on the Border Police.

“Violence against [security forces] is a criminal act which requires a quick and vigorous extraction of justice,” Kohavi said.Bar Lev said there was no difference between “militias of Jewish hooligans attacking and wounding” Border Police officers in Yitzhar and the Arabs who assault police in Kafr Kassem.

In both cases, governance was abandoned to “criminal fringe elements,” he said.

In Yitzhar, settlers “think they are allowed to challenge the governance of the State of Israel and raise a hand against those in uniform,” the minister said, adding that they must be treated with “uncompromising determination.”

Settlers and security forces have a history of such clashes in the area of Yitzhar. This particular incident, however, occurred as tensions are particularly high in the West Bank.

Last month, Jewish extremists, presumed to be settlers, attacked the Palestinian village of Khirbat al-Mufaqarah, throwing stones at residents’ homes and injuring a three-year old boy.

An IDF commander was also rebuked for the excessive force he and his men used in handling a left-wing protest in the South Hebron Hills last month.

Gantz did not specifically reference those incidents, but seemed to allude to the latter one when he said, “Unfortunately, there were isolated cases of IDF soldiers deviating from the orders. Any such deviation will be addressed and investigated in depth,” Gantz vowed.

He called on security forces, Israeli civilians and Palestinians to maintain calm, particularly in light of the opening of the olive harvest.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.