Soldiers clashing with settlers near Jericho
Israeli soldiers clashing with settlers barricaded in a synagogue in the West Bank city of Jericho on February 21, 2009. Photo by Reuters
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Israeli security forces on Tuesday arrested 30 right-wing activists who tried to storm an ancient synagogue in Na'aran, near Jericho, which is in the West Bank. The activists consequently clashed with police officers and soldiers who deployed to the area to keep the peace.

The activists had arrived at the site at the culmination of a protest march aimed at "bolstering the [Jewish] foothold on the old cities of Nablus and Jericho."

The three-day protest march was organized by a youth group led by rabbi Moshe Levinger. At the end of the march, the activists arrived at the synagogue where some 60 soldiers and policemen were waiting. They arrested the activists with force, beating them all the while.

During the clash, a driver hired by the army to transport the activists away from the area began hurling stones at the protesters and hit one woman. In response, the activists boarded the vehicle and tore out seats and upholstery and broke two windows. They were taken to a police station in Ma’aleh Adumim.

This clash was not the first between security forces and activists trying to storm the synagogue in Na'aran. The Israel Defense Forces arrested 35 rightists in February who barricaded themselves inside the synagogue. The activists, who were well organized, easily infiltrated the police and army roadblocks and entered Jericho without hindrance.