Israeli Security Forces Raze Two Temporary Structures Near West Bank Settlement

Yitzhar's settler leaders slam the move, which comes after settlers hurled stones at Border Police troops, saying it 'only inflames the situation'

Hagar Shezaf
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Security forces demolish temporary structures near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, October 24, 2019.
Security forces demolish temporary structures near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, October 24, 2019.
Hagar Shezaf

Multiple Israeli security forces demolished Thursday two wooden temporary structures near the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, where Jewish settlers hurled stones at Border Police troops a few days ago.

The Israeli army enforced a closed-off military area order to the Comey Uri hill near Yitzhar following the violence in the area against Israeli soldiers.

The order, which is valid until November 20, stipulates that except for the residents of the hill – six to eight families in total – no one is allowed to stay there. 

The structures were illegally erected ahead of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot within Area B, which is defined as land under Palestinian civil control and Israeli military control.

Yitzhar's settler leaders slammed the move, saying that the "community has expressed its firm stance against harming soldiers, and precisely because of this stance the decision to demolish structures as an act of punishment is wrong and destructive. This move does nothing but inflame the situation instead of calming it."  

On Tuesday overnight, unidentified vandals defaced more than 20 vehicles near a checkpoint in the West Bank city of al-Bira, as well as spray-painted graffiti on a wall in the area that read: "Closed-off military area traitors choose to harass Jews."

Police said they entered the scene along with Israeli army forces and began collecting evidence, and that an investigation was underway.

The graffiti most likely refers to the closed-off military area order. 

On Sunday, some 30 West Bank settlers threw stones at soldiers near Yitzhar and punctured their vehicle's tires, lightly wounding one, according to the military.

Troops used riot control measures and fired shots into the air, dispersing the crowd. No arrests were made. "The IDF vehemently condemns physical and verbal violence toward those serving in it and sees incidents of this type very seriously," the military said.  

On Monday, settlers again hurled rocks toward Border Police troops near Yitzhar.

The forces fired stun grenades toward the settlers; no injuries were reported and none of settlers were arrested.