Yitzhar settlers attack village to protest arrests
Residents of the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar yesterday marched through a neighboring Palestinian village and attacked a home in response to the arrest earlier in the day of 11 other community residents.
The settlers surrounded a Palestinian home and hurled rocks through windows, Hawara residents said. People inside called for help through a loudspeaker. As Palestinians converged on the area, the settlers fled.
Police raided Yitzhar early yesterday morning, arresting seven residents suspected of involvement in "price-tag" attacks on Palestinians - a term for reprisals aimed at deterring the evacuation of illegal outposts or home demolitions in legal settlements.
Four more residents were arrested soon after. Most of the detainees, who included senior settlement officials, were released shortly after their arrests.
Yitzhar has been at the forefront of the price-tag campaign. Last week, the Israel Defense Forces vowed to take significant steps to curb settler violence in the town, with assistance from police and the Shin Bet security service.
Settler spokesman Avraham Binyamin said yesterday's incident was meant to show residents' anger at the "police crusade" against them.
"Police acted violently against those residents who were engaged in a demonstration of a purely passive nature by blocking the security forces' movement with their bodies," he said, referring to the Independence Day clashes between settlers and security forces that prompted the IDF's vow of a crackdown.
"Tear gas was used, and troops cocked their weapons and pointed them at the residents. Certain individuals were even run over while trying to block a security force vehicle."
Baruch Marzel, an extremist settler leader, issued a statement saying the IDF is "out to get" the settlers.