Israeli Police Extracted After Settlers Attack Them in West Bank

According to the police, dozens of masked men from nearby settlements threw stones and other objects at the policemen and their van - but police made no arrests

Signs near the entrance to Yizhar, May 12, 2019.
Tomer Appelbaum

Dozens of extreme right-wing activists assaulted police on Saturday near the settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank. According to the police, dozens of masked men from nearby settlements threw stones and other objects at the policemen and their van, puncturing the tires of two manned police vehicles. No one was arrested.

According to a police spokesman from the Judea and Samaria police district, the police were summoned to an outpost called “Kippah Sruga,” following clashes between settlers and Palestinians. The police separated the two sides without arresting anyone.

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According to the police, “while our force was leaving, dozens of masked men from the area arrived, throwing stones and objects at the policemen and their vehicles. Using knives, they slashed the tires of two vehicles, causing quite a lot of damage before fleeing the scene.”

Army and additional police forces had to be brought in to extricate the police who were under attack. Security forces are searching for the suspected attackers.

A spokesman for Yitzhar said that “during Shabbat, some settlers took a walk near the settlement. The walk was uneventful, and in contrast to police claims that clashes erupted between Arabs and Jews, everyone was on their way home. While they were resting near the settlement, a Border Police force arrived, asked them to leave and used force with no justification. After things heated up, there was a verbal confrontation. Instead of admitting their mistake, policemen used disproportionate force against the settlers.”

People in Yitzhar said that one settler was wounded and was evacuated for medical treatment. “Because of the Sabbath, we have no documentation of how things unfolded,” they said.

Over the past several weeks, settlers from Yizhar and surrounding settlements have been involved in several altercations, yet police have not arrested a single suspect.

Last week, Israelis and Palestinians reported a field set ablaze and clashes in the Palestinian towns of Burin, Urief and Asira al-Qibliya.

In a video disseminated by Asira al-Qibliya’s council, settlers are seen throwing stones at Palestinians, while soldiers nearby do nothing to arrest them. In response to the video, the IDF spokesman said that “Palestinians started a fire near Asira al-Qibliya. The IDF, the Border Police and civilian volunteers worked to extinguish the fire, which was spreading towards a military position and the edge of Yitzhar.”

After a B’Tselem video surfaced, showing settlers setting fire to fields, the army revised its response and confirmed that Jewish settlers also took part in setting fires.