Injuries, Arrests and Fires After Illegal Structure Demolished in West Bank

Six people were injured and another six arrested after security forces demolished a house under construction in the West Bank on Monday.

Six people were injured and another six arrested after security forces demolished a house under construction in the West Bank. The construction of the house was in defiance of the building freeze.

Settlers in the West Bank had been preparing for a demolition by the Civil Administration, with young people streaming to Givat Ronen to prevent it from being carried out. Before dawn yesterday, a large contingent of riot control police arrived to enact the demolition orders. Disturbances immediately followed.

A group of young people ventured to the nearby Palestinian village of Burin, but fled after residents there pelted them with stones. Four settlers and two Palestinians were injured in the clashes; a young Jewish man was struck in the head with a stone and was evacuated to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva in moderate condition.

Palestinians set fire to fields, evidently expecting the wind to blow the flames toward the homes in Givat Ronen. The Jewish youth also set fire to Palestinian fields. Palestinian firefighters and residents from the settlement of Har Bracha worked for hours to extinguish the flames.

West Bank settlers
Moti Milrod

The six people arrested included a woman with a child. Four have been remanded.

In the midst of the unrest, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman toured the area with members of his Yisrael Beiteinu faction. The army initially asked him to avoid the area, but Lieberman insisted and asked the Shin Bet security services to facilitate his visit.

When asked yesterday about the incidents taking place, Lieberman said the law had to be enforced, but that "the state knows how to impose the law on Jews but doesn't know how to impose the law on Arabs." Lieberman asked the Yesha Council of settlements to produce a monthly report documenting illegal construction in the Arab sector.

As of June 27, the Civil Administration has made 1,335 tours to enforce the building freeze - confiscating 41 pieces of equipment, opening 485 files on freeze violations and demolishing 64 structures.

The human rights group B'Tselem yesterday submitted a complaint to the Police Investigation Department in the Justice Ministry, alleging that Border Police personnel had beaten their photographer, who'd been filming the disturbances in Burin, and had confiscated his camera.

The Border Police said: "The matter was checked by a Border Police officer with forces in the field and no such incident is known."