Five Settlers Arrested on Suspicion of Attacking Israeli Policemen at West Bank Outpost

The clash came after police prevented illegal construction work at the outpost of Maoz Esther

File photo: Israeli border police officers seen near the site of the Maoz Esther outpost after in the northern West Bank, May 2009.
REUTERS

Five West Bank settlers were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of attacking police who had put a halt to illegal construction work at the unauthorized outpost of Maoz Esther in the northern West Bank.

The suspects clashed with the police, threw stones at them and pushed them, a police source said. The police, who impounded two trucks at the site, reported that dozens of local residents also gathered at the scene and threw stones at police officers.

Border police and soldiers from the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank had been called to the scene over suspicions that the trucks had entered a closed military zone. When the security forces arrived at the outpost and detained one of the truck drivers, dozens of young residents of the outpost sat in the middle of the road in an effort to prevent the police from impounding the trucks.

On Monday, there were two other confrontations between security forces and settlers, although no arrests were made. In the first incident, a vehicle carrying Border Police officers was stoned at the entrance to the settlement of Yitzhar in the northern West Bank. In the second, masked individuals threw rocks at police and at police vehicles near the settlement of Bat Ayin in the Gush Etzion bloc south of Jerusalem.

The Kumi Ori West Bank outpost.
Tomer Appelbaum

The Israeli forces attacked near Yitzhar were on their way to enforce an order declaring the Kumi Ori outpost, where settlers had thrown rocks at soldiers last month, a closed military zone. The suspects in that incident fled.

Kumi Ori was declared a closed military zone and two companies of Border Police were deployed on the hill there to prevent non-residents from entering the outpost,after a soldier was lightly injured by rocks thrown at him there last month. A few days after the incident, a large force of Border Police and Civil Administration soldiers demolished two temporary structures in the area.

The wood buildings were illegally erected prior to the Sukkot holiday on a hill dubbed Shevah Haaretz, which is in Area B, the portion of the West Bank under the civilian control of the Palestinian Authority and under Israeli military control.