Israeli Army Officer’s Tires Slashed in West Bank Settlement

Defense Minister Ya’alon says incident is 'a grave and intolerable act that requires a swift and determined response.'

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Samaria Brigade Commander Col. Yoav Yarom’s car tires were slashed Friday afternoon while he was visiting the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.

“The Israel Defense Forces takes a grave view of such acts against IDF commanders and soldiers, who work day and night to defend the residents of the State of Israel,” the IDF spokesman said.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon called the incident “a grave and intolerable act that requires a swift and determined response by all the elements battling this phenomenon, first and foremost by us in the government.”

Yarom himself said “the truth is a little more complex than what has appeared in the media. The fact I was meeting with settlement leaders in Yitzhar is evidence of the reasonable relations between the army and the settlers there.

“Fighting crime is first and foremost in the interest of the settlers,” he added. “I know that’s the position of settlement officials, and it’s important to say that publicly.”

Elsewhere, in two separate incidents Friday morning, the Judea and Samaria Police arrested 10 people suspected of recent incitements. Seven of those arrested were involved in an incident in Qusra last Tuesday, when a group of settlers from Esh Kodesh, near Nablus, were removed by the IDF after entering the Palestinian village and being apprehended and then beaten by some of the residents.

The seven were remanded at Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court. It wasn’t clear why they were arrested, since the IDF force that removed them from the Palestinian village handed them over to Israel Police and, after a brief interrogation, they had been released to house arrest. “Those who attacked them with bars and sticks were not arrested, but those who were lynched were arrested. This is a mixed-up world,” said the group’s attorney, Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Three people were arrested in Kibbutz Tirat Zvi, near the home of Civil Administration inspector Amir Matos, who is responsible for, among other areas, the Esh Kodesh outpost. The three were carrying gasoline and flyers.

Police believe right-wing activists destroyed a tree nursery near the town of Kafr Qasim on Friday. Dozens of trees were uprooted and the words “Regards from Esh Kodesh” spray-painted nearby.

A sign pointing the way to the Yitzhar settlement. Vandals erased the Arabic and scribbled "revenge" instead.Credit: Hadar Cohen