Rightists plan ‘Day of Rage’ over Gilad Farm violence

Extremist activists smash Palestinian car windows, throw Molotov cocktail into a home, roll burning tires into 2 West Bank villages.

Gilad farm ruins (R) 311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Gilad farm ruins (R) 311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Right-wing activists plan a “Day of Rage” Thursday to protest the Border Police’s alleged use of rubber bullets against settlers at the unauthorized Gilad Farm outpost on Monday.
Already on Tuesday, extremist activists engaged in a number of “price tag” activities, smashing Palestinian car windows, throwing a Molotov cocktail into a home and rolling burning tires into two West Bank Palestinian villages. On Monday night, activists blocked roads in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
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Clashes with police at the two Jerusalem demonstrations led to the arrest of 25 people, 17 of whom were indicted Tuesday in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s and District courts. Ten of those indicted were under 18.
Another eight protesters who were arrested were later released, but only after restraining orders were issued against them to prevent their entering Jerusalem.
Eight settlers arrested at Gilad Farm early Monday morning were released that night.
Settlers said that security forces’ use of rubber bullets against them for the first time ever crossed all red lines. They have filed a complaint with the police, demanding an investigation.
Police have insisted that they fired only paint balls from the guns, which are used to defuse demonstrations.
In protest, senior national religious Rabbi Haim Druckman complained to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s bureau over the “the intentional firing at citizens.”
Druckman had hoped to meet with Netanyahu in person, but the premier was on his way to the North, so the message was relayed instead to Netanyahu’s bureau chief Natan Eshel.
“It would be proper that in such cases – of evacuating a small tent – there would be dialogue with the settlers, instead of preparing for battle with the Jewish residents,” Druckman said, adding, “The Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria are not enemies of the state, and should not be shot at.”
Druckman’s aide Efraim Meir said Eshel had told him in response that after the Gilad Farm incident, Netanyahu had held a meeting attended by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon and incoming police chief Cmdr. Yohanan Danino. During that meeting, he said, the premier laid the blame for the shootings and for harming the settlers’ religious sentiments squarely on the defense minister.
On Tuesday, Barak slammed the settlers’ disregard for the law at Gilad Farm, and clarified that the “rioters” there represented only a fraction of the otherwise law-abiding residents of Judea and Samaria.
“The government must maintain its authority over its citizens,” Barak said. “We are a nation of laws, and citizens can’t be allowed to take the law into their own hands.”
Barak spoke with reporters as he toured the Givati training base in the South.
“I think that these riots are harmful to the rule of law and even to the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria,” he said. “They [the rioters] do not represent us. They are individuals or small groups whose actions are unworthy, and we will deal with them.”
He defended the security forces, who he said had used force only after protesters had disrupted them during the legal execution of their duties. He added that it was provocative on the part of the settlers to use force to disrupt security forces.
Barak warned that he would deal with the Gilad Farm outpost at the right time and in the appropriate manner, just as security forces would deal with continuous and systematic violations of law in other places. Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin also slammed illegal outpost construction and spoke of the importance of upholding the law.
“Any action against the law harms the moral basis of settlement in the land of Israel,” Rivlin told The Jerusalem Post.
He warned that such activity damaged the legitimacy of Israel’s ability to hold on to the areas where such activity occurred. It is important to heed the police, who are charged with upholding the law, he added.
Rivlin spoke harshly about the “price tag” policy, in which extreme right-wing activists seek revenge against Palestinians for IDF actions against settlers.
“It can’t be that anyone who wants to determines what the law is, what the price is and what the tag is. There is a government in Israel. There is law and order. And we have to be careful to preserve them,” he said.
Separately, while in the South on Tuesday, Barak addressed the topic of Kfir Brigade soldier Shimon Weisman, whose house was among the three structures demolished at Gilad Farm on Monday.
The moment he heard of the demolition, Weisman left unit and returned to the outpost. He told the media that he did not intend to return to the army until he had rebuilt his home.
“Citizens are subject to the laws of the country, and soldiers are subject to the Army Judiciary and the behavioral standards demanded of soldiers, and we must deal with all of these issues with seriousness if we are to be a society that wants to steer its fate in the right direction, and not to let anarchy rule over it,” Barak said.
In a statement issued on Monday, the IDF called the soldier’s behavior “severe,” adding that “the IDF does not choose its missions and expects its soldiers not to mix politics and their IDF service.”
An officer with the IDF Spokesman’s Office told the Post on Tuesday that the incident was viewed with severity, but that the army saw it as an isolated incident and did not expect any sort of wave of desertions or refusal of orders following the demolitions in the outpost.
Melanie Lidman and Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report.