Rightists launch 'day of rage' over West Bank outpost demolition
Demonstrators block Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway, place burning tires in entrance to Jerusalem to protest demolition of illegal structures in the Havat Gilad outpost.
Right-wing activists attempted to block the entrance to Jerusalem on Thursday, in the first actions of a declared nation-wide "day of rage," organized to protest Israel's demolition of illegal structures at the Havat Gilad outpost in the West Bank.
Approximately 15 demonstrators momentarily succeeded in blocking traffic on Route 1 – the highway connecting Israel's largest metropolitan areas, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv – until they were evacuated by police.
In a separate action, tires were set ablaze in the entrance to Jerusalem, in what security officials estimate was another protest linked to the declared "day of rage."
Later Thursday, a group of demonstrators attempted to block a section of railway tracks that runs between the city Modi'in and Ben Gurion International Airport.
Police forces as well as Israel Railways security personnel eventually evacuated the group, which had caused minor delays in the train's schedule.
The activists had reportedly attempted to keep their plans secret but have reportedly told their supporters that their message is that incidents like those at the Havat Gilad outpost will lead to protests throughout the country aimed at deterring the police from further action.
The Yesha council of settlements said it opposes the protests and that those behind it are right-wing militants.
The protests came after on Monday, eight settlers were arrested during violent clashes with security forces in the Havat Gilad outpost in the West Bank.
Security forces arrived at the Havat Gilad outpost in the settlement of Samaria on Monday morning in order to demolish several illegal structures, which resulted in clashes between police and the settlers.
Some of the police forces arriving at the outpost were armed with paintball guns. The settlers apparently threw stones and soldiers reportedly fired rubber bullets. A spokesman for the Judea and Samaria police said Monday that protesters were only fired at after stones were thrown.
Thirteen people were hit by rubber bullets in the clash, settlers said. Eight settlers were arrested, sparking protests, which included blocking junctions in the West Bank and intersections in Jerusalem.
The Border Police has placed its special anti-riot units on alert ahead of today's planned protest, particularly in the West Bank, and have water trucks outfitted with hoses for riot control at the ready.
Border Police are also preparing for the possibility of clashes between settlers and Arabs.
Human rights groups Yesh Din and B'Tselem yesterday demanded that the Israel Defense Forces protect Palestinians from the demonstrations today. Ido Tamari, of the legal defense team of Yesh Din, wrote: "We are asking you urgently to allocate all necessary forces to protect life, limb and property of Palestinians during the 'day of rage.'"