JERUSALEM (JTA) — Six Israeli Border Police officers were hurt after clashes between Israeli security forces and settlers in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.
Hundreds of supporters of the settlement located deep in the West Bank near Nablus rallied to the settlement late Tuesday night after Israeli security forces arrived to demolish several illegal structures. Two of the structures had people living in them and at least two others were under construction. One structure was confiscated.
The rioting settlers threw stones, burned tires and blocked roads, according to the IDF. They also attacked a nearby IDF guard post responsible for the settlement’s security.
Two settlers were injured and eight arrested in the incident. About 200 families live in Yitzhar.
On Sunday, the tires of the IDF commander of the Samaria Brigade, Col. Yoav Yarom, were slashed while he was visiting Yitzhar. A teenage resident of Yitzhar was later arrested for the crime. On Monday, the tires of a jeep on routine IDF patrol in Yitzhar also were slashed.
There have been an increasing number of attacks on security forces in the West Bank by settlers in recent weeks, according to the IDF.
“The IDF views such events harshly,” it said in a statement. “Any assault on army commanders, regular or reserves, who are engaged day and night in defending the People of Israel, is crossing a red line.” The IDF also noted that such incidents take the IDF’s attention away from protecting the residents of the settlements.
Yitzhar residents said in a statement published in Haaretz that “the policy of demolition and collective punishment by authorities against residents is disturbing. The Israeli government cannot demolish the homes of innocent people as revenge for other isolated illegitimate incidents, as grave as they may be. We call on the security establishment and its leader to stop this policy immediately.”