Rightist protest - Moti Milrod - Feb 28, 2011
Clashes between right-wing activists and police forces in Jerusalem, February 28, 2011. Photo by Moti Milrod
Text size

A Jerusalem court indicted on Tuesday seventeen pro-settlement protesters who had demonstrated against the tearing down of a West Bank outpost the previous day, seven of whom are minors.

The protesters were charged with disturbing the peace, attacking police and damaging police vehicles.

Eight settlers were arrested during violent clashes that erupted on Monday when security forces arrived at the West Bank outpost of Havat Gilad to demolish several structures.

Security forces shot rubber bullets at the outpost residents in the clashes that ensued.

The incident sparked fury among rightists, and led some 100 young activists to block Begin Road in Jerusalem and throw burning tires into traffic.

The mother of a 16-year-old protester who was arrested on Tuesday said it was the first time her son had been arrested.

"I am extremely concerned by reports that the police used extreme force at the time of the arrest," the mother said. "I am very proud of my son, who goes after what he believes in and is willing to pay the price for it."

A mother of another 16-year-old protester said she was proud of her son, but that she fears that the arrest will hurt her son's chances of being accepted into an elite army unit, which is his dream.

Earlier Tuesday, Israeli settlers damaged houses and cars in a Palestinian village in the West Bank, police and witnesses said, in an apparent show of anger over the Israeli demolition of homes in the unauthorized Havat Gilad outpost.

Police say settlers are suspected of smashing windows of seven Palestinian cars and throwing a fire bomb at a Palestinian house.

Moreover, following Monday's Havat Gilad clashes, a top rabbi in the Religious-Zionist movement urged the prime minister on Tuesday to open dialogue before dismantling West Bank settlements.

The rabbi specifically condemned the security forces' use of rubber bullets during the clashes and said the settlers' were offended when police allegedly acted aggressively with settler women involved in the protest.

He stressed that "a delicate balance has been broken, and before dismantling a tent or a structure, there must be a dialogue."