Dozens of Masked Israeli Settlers Hurl Stones at Police in West Bank, One Officer Wounded

Stones, bottles of paint thrown at Border Police forces who arrived to demolish illegal outpost in northern West Bank

Hagar Shezaf
Jack Khoury
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Israeli Border Police arrive to demolish illegal outpost in northern West Bank, August 12, 2020
Israeli Border Police arrive to demolish illegal outpost in northern West Bank, August 12, 2020Credit: דוברות המשטרה
Hagar Shezaf
Jack Khoury

Dozens of masked Israeli settlers attacked Border Police officers Wednesday morning during an operation to demolish illegal structures at an outpost near the settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank. One officer suffered light wounds.

Yitzhar has often been a flashpoint for violence between settlers and Israeli forces who arrive to demolish illegal structures. Border Police officers arrived at the scene to clear an illegal outpost constructed on land in Area B of the West Bank.

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Settlers threw stones and bottles of paint at the officers, and slashed tires of Border Police vehicles. One officer was lightly injured when she was hit by a stone, while others were hit by bottles of paint.

Border Police officers responded with riot dispersal methods and back up troops were called to the scene. The Border Police said that the settlers had been dispersed and the situation was under control.

“This is a serious violent incident toward officers who came, along with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, to demolish three wooden structures that were illegally constructed at the Shevach Haaretz outpost near Yitzhar,” the Border Police said. “The demolition has been completed,” they added.

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid responded to the incident. In a tweet he said that "Jews who attack and injure IDF troops are terrorists. Expect security forces to find these Jewish terrorists and send them to jail."

Far-right lawmaker Bezalel Smotrich said that “If it wasn’t for the terrible incident in Yitzhar, we should have been focusing on the hypocrisy revolving around [the policy] not to demolish homes of terrorists under the auspices of the High Court of justice, but instead to chase after every shack in the settlements.

A car is seen damaged after stones were thrown at it with a Palestinian family inside in the West Bank, August 11, 2020.

“The discrimination and the injustice against settlers caused by the incompetence against illegal construction of Arabs cries out,” Smotrich wrote on Twitter.     

“But unfortunately, a group of young people who have carried out acts that mustn’t be done is tainting the entire settlement enterprise and shifts public discourse from other oversights, and it’s frustrating,” he added.

“So after denouncing the violence against security forces, I would like to condemn the discrimination and prosecution against the settlers, the police's determination which is only visible in Yitzhar, but was nonexistent against Druze lawbreakers in Beit Jann who almost lynched police officers a month ago. (To this day no lawbreaker was arrested)," Smotrich wrote.  

On Tuesday, settlers around Yitzhar reportedly attacked Palestinians in two separate incidents. Around 1:30 P.M., four masked settlers threw stones at two Palestinians who were registering land in the village of Huwara. One of the Palestinians was injured when he was hit with a stone and fell down as he fled, and needed medical treatment.

Around 10:30 P.M., some six settlers threw stones at a car that was passing by on the road near the entrance to Yitzhar. A Palestinian family was in the car, two parents and their 27-year-old son.

Last month, two border policemen were wounded when dozens of settlers clashed with security forces while dismantling the illegal Kippah Sruga outpost also near Yitzhar.

Police said that the settlers had set up road blocks, including flaming tires, thrown objects at troops, burned tires and sprayed security forces with pepper spray. Security forces arrived at the outpost to enforce a closed military zone order, which banned civilian access to the area. 

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