A series of violent incidents involving settlers swept through the West Bank Thursday, as dozens of settlers clashed with IDF and police forces, stoned cars and vandalized Palestinian property.
The gravest incident of the day occurred in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, when during the riot a settler was able to snatch a weapon away from an IDF soldier standing next to him and began firing in midair. A second settler began firing in midair as well. No injuries or damage were reported; both men were arrested.
Eralier Thursday, the Judea and Samaria Police received reports of settlers rioting in the West Bank village of Burin, near Nablus.
According to Palestinian reports, some 150 settlers attacked Palestinian farmers in the village, damaging crops and property. "This is a full fledged pogrom against the (Palestinian) residents here," a local Palestinian farmer told Ynet, adding that "the IDF soldiers are seeing all this happen and are doing nothing."
Earlier still, Judea and Samaria police officers, who arrived at the illegal West Bank outpost of Adi-Ad to investigate building violations, found themselves in the midst of a riot, as residents of the nearby Yitzhar settlement began stoning their cars.
One of the cars sustained some damage; none of the officers were hurt and the riot was dispersed.
In a third incident, 20 other settlers reportedly made their way to the Shilo Junction – on Highway 60 – in the West Bank, where they blocked the road by setting several tires on fire.
The perpetrators fled the scene upon the arrival of security forces.
'Army and police have decided to harass us'
Former Kdumin Council Head Daniela Weiss justified the settlers' activity. "It's clear that as far as the youngsters are concerned, if one outpost is damaged, they will respond in several places in Judea and Samaria, and this is what happened."
According to Weiss, "The army and police are planning to stop us from holding a five-day tour from Samaria to South Mount Hebron, because they don’t like it. They have decided to harass us and remove a vehicle from one of the hills where we planned to stay overnight. This won't help, and next week we'll embark on our trip in whatever way possible."
The Yesh Din human rights group said in response that "the security forces' helplessness when in comes to enforcing the law and dealing with violent settlers in facilitating the creation of a terror infrastructure in the West Bank."
The ongoing fight against building violations and illegal construction in Yizhar resulted in a violent clash between settlers and security forces last month; as a riot broke out, during the tearing down of an illegal structure in Havat Shaked within the settlements.
Five police officers and 10 settlers were hurt in the riot; and eight settlers were arrested.
Ali Waked contributed to this report