Cops release 4 Yitzhar settlers detained for 'incitement'

Three are suspected of incitement to violence via Hakol Hayehudi website; one is suspected of setting fire to a Palestinian field, police say.

Police entering Yitzhar settlement 311 (photo credit: Hakol Hayehudi)
Police entering Yitzhar settlement 311
(photo credit: Hakol Hayehudi)
Police on Monday released four suspects they had detained for questioning after a raid before dawn on the Yitzhar settlement near Nablus.
Three of them are suspected of incitement to violence via the Hakol Hayehudi (The Jewish Voice) website. The fourth, a minor, is suspected of setting fire to a Palestinian field, Judea and Samaria Police said.
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“A number of items and computers were seized during the raid as part of the investigation,” a police spokeswoman said. Investigators are searching through the computers for inciting material, she added.
The minor was questioned over an arson attack on a field owned by a Palestinian a number of months ago, the police spokeswoman said.
The detentions and the raid on Yitzhar, where the office of Hakol Hayehudi is located, comes a day after the Internet news site published a document showing that the army does not want to let soldiers who live in settlements of plans to demolish structures in Jewish West Bank communities.
Sources in Yitzhar and MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said the detentions were payback for the publication of the document and that such police activity was harmful to democracy.
Yitzhar spokesman Avraham Binyamin, who was among those arrested, said the detentions were an effort to clamp down on free speech and had more to do with harassment than crime-solving.
Around 100 border policemen descended on Yitzhar at 4:30 a.m., breaking into homes and the caravan office of Hakol Hayehudi, said Binyamin, who also works for the website. He said six computers were confiscated.
Police knocked on his front door, waking his wife and two children, aged one and four years, Binyamin said.
As a spokesman, Binyamin said, he was a well-known figure and easy to find. “Everyone has my numbers. If they have questions they want to ask me, they don’t have to knock on my door at 4:30 a.m.,” he said.
“You would expect that that for all that effort, there would be a prolonged interrogation,” Binyamin said.
Once in the police station, he said, he was questioned for 20 minutes about an incident from six months ago in which he published photographs of Shin Bet agents. After that, he was released.
Another suspect was a reporter for Hakol Hayehudi who was similarly detained by the police earlier this month.