Settlers Attack Israeli Forces at West Bank Outpost Days After Deadly Shooting

The army said that about 200 settlers attempted to reach Homesh, which was evicted as part of Israel's 2005 disengagement plan, but encountered large forces at checkpoints en route

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Soldiers at the Homesh outpost, on Friday.
Soldiers at the Homesh outpost, on Friday.Credit: Hagar Shezaf
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

Violence broke out on Sunday when settlers at the Homesh settlement outpost in the West Bank attacked security forces, according to the Israeli army.

About 200 settlers attempted to reach Homesh, but encountered army and police forces at checkpoints en route. The army stated that settlers were physically and verbally violent, attacked soldiers, vandalized military property and broke through the checkpoints.

During the clashes, a settler vehicle hit an Israeli soldier and lightly wounded him.

Residents of Homesh were evicted as part of Israel's 2005 disengagement plan, and Israelis are banned from staying within its bounds. However, settlers often visit the area and operate the yeshiva, which in practice serves as an outpost, with yeshiva students moving between it and the nearest settlement, Shavei Shomron.

On Sunday, the settlers managed to reach the outpost area and erected three temporary structures there, but police evacuated the buildings later in the afternoon.

Dozens of settlers spent the weekend at the Homesh outpost, following Thursday's murder of Yehuda Dimentman. Since his murder, about 30,000 NIS ($9,500) have been raised to build the outpost. 

In a statement, the army said that they condemn "all forms of violence against security forces and will act decisively in relation to any attempt to harm" them, while also "fulfilling their role of protecting the security of Israeli citizens."

They added that the army will continue "maintaining the security of civilians alongside law enforcement and preventing illegal activity." They did not state whether any settlers were arrested during the incident.

Settlers at the Homesh yeshiva contested the claims of the Israeli army, calling them "serious lies."

They argued that the pictures and videos of the event showed "zero violence" and accused the military of slandering the yeshiva students. In reference to the military's efforts to dismantle the illegal outpost, the settlers said: "Instead of destroying the terrorist's house, they decided to destroy the spiritual home of the murdered man. The place and the buildings are erected in his memory."

Religious Zionism chairman Bezalel Smotrich called on Knesset members to join in him and the settlers in their efforts "to break the siege on Homesh." He called the Israeli military's actions – in which soldiers stifled settler efforts to build illegal structures – "a shame and a disgrace," constituting "a reward for terrorism."

Meanwhile, police arrested three Israelis suspected of setting a Palestinian car on fire near a West Bank checkpoint. They will appear in court for a hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court.

According to the Israeli army, clashes broke out at the site between settlers and security forces trying to prevent the passage of building materials.

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