Two men were released from custody yesterday after having been detained earlier in the day for firing in the air when Palestinians threw stones at their cars. Police said that the two had acted properly, since their lives were endangered by the stone-throwing.
The incident, which took place at the Yitzhar junction in the northern West Bank, was one of a series of violent incidents that followed yesterday's removal of a residential trailer from the nearby outpost of Adei Ad.
In another incident, settlers from Yitzhar reportedly threw stones at the main road on their way back to Yitzhar from Adei Ad. At the same time, the police and the Israel Defense Forces received reports that rocks had been thrown by Israelis in the nearby Palestinian village of Burin. Police and soldiers mounted an unsuccessful search for the stone-throwers.
In the shooting incident, one of the men stopped his car close to an IDF vehicle, took a weapon from one of the soldiers and fired into the air several times. The other driver fired his own weapon.
Yitzhar residents said the man who seized the soldier's gun was not a resident of the settlement, but rather an air-conditioning technician from Jerusalem. "He happened to be at the site and was hit by stones, and since the IDF did not respond, he decided to do something," explained one.
Regarding the trailer's removal, a Yitzhar resident said: "The police and the Civil Administration think they can come and evacuate like a 'hit and run.' So we decided that for every attempt to evacuate, we would exact a price throughout the area. The tiniest evacuation will result in incidents all day long, so it will be clear we don't give up easily."
Haaretz has learned that last month, the outgoing commander of the Samaria Brigade, Col. Amir Baram, told IDF officers and officials of the State Prosecutor's Office that efforts should be made to "deal with provocateurs like [Kedumim Mayor] Daniella Weiss and Rabbi Gadi Ben-Zimra," who heads an Orthodox girls' high school in the northern West Bank settlement of Ma'aleh Levona.
At that meeting, Baram focused in particular on two yeshivas in the northern West Bank. One, called Dorshei Yihudcha, is located in Yitzhar and headed by Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, an associate of Rabbi Yitzhak Ginzburg, who headed the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva that was formerly located at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus. Shapira is among the rabbis who signed a manifesto in support of the suspects in a brutal attack on two Arab youths on Holocaust Remembrance Day in May.
"The community's moderates are unable to exert their authority over the yeshiva boys, and there are many complaints in the area," Baram was quoted as saying. "Two yeshiva boys recently went into a nearby Palestinian village to set fire to Palestinian cars, but they were caught and beaten, and the army had to extricate them."
The second yeshiva is Shiru Lamelech, located at the Havat Gilad outpost. Baram said that a number of "problematic" youths study at that yeshiva.
Baram cited the illegal outpost of Shvut Ami as another source of problems, saying that stone-throwing by residents continues despite a permanent IDF presence there.