Army Calls Off Protection of Settlement Following Violent Assault on Soldier, Driver

A Palestinian driver was beaten with a club and a soldier was attacked with pepper spray by masked men at the entrance to the settlement of Bat Ayin.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

Israel Defense Forces called off its deployment in a West Bank settlement on Thursday after a soldier was attacked with tear gas and a Palestinian was beaten with a club by masked men.

A Palestinian truck driver delivering cargo to the settlement of Bat Ayin was attacked near the front gate, and a soldier standing guard nearby was attacked with pepper spray. The two masked attackers fled the scene and have yet to be found. The soldier was lightly injured, and returned to activity a few hours later.

The IDF announced it would stop guarding the settlement immediately after the incident for an underetermined period of time. A spokesperson stated that it recognizes the great severity of the incident, and expects law enforcement agencies to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Over the last decade or so, several Bat Ayin settlers have been convicted of fatal attacks on Palestinians. Some of the attacks were committed by the so-called "Bat Ayin underground."

Thursday's violent incident was not the first at Bat Ayin involving the IDF over the entrance of Palestinians into the settlement. Last year, Haaretz reported that soldiers guarding the settlement were ordered by Bat Ayin's chief of security to deny entry to non-Jews - even if he is an Israeli citizen, the director had said.

Security officials in Bat Ayin were notified that such an order was illegal. Afterward the IDF Spokesman's Unit stated that the army agreed to have the soldiers there report to the security director when non-Jews entered the settlement, so that they could be monitored.

Masked right-wing activists in the West BankCredit: AP
Ofer Gamliel (left) of the Bat Ayin underground. Credit: Eyal Warshavsky

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