Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch addressed the series of violent incidents perpetrated by settlers in the West Bank on Monday and urged security forces not to be deterred. "You know what to do with anyone who is breaking the law – we will not allow them to take the law into their own hands," he said Tuesday.
The settlers rioted
as part of a new policy intended to exact a 'price' for the dismantling of illegal outposts.
During a ceremony marking Hagai Dotan taking office as the new Judea and Samaria Police District chief, Aharonovitch said that following the clash between MK Michael Ben Ari and security forces on Monday "the entire issue of immunity (for MKs) will be looked into. We can't have Knesset members leading these actions and breaking the law."
Referring to the disturbances, which included the torching of Palestinian houses, the minister said: "This is certainly one of the important, most complex and difficult districts. The disturbances have gotten out of control. We need deterrence."
As for the clashes near Yitzhar, during which MK Ben Ari was detained, Aharonovitch said "the events are documented. If he (Ben Ari) indeed tried to provoke the soldiers – we will not allow such incidents to repeat themselves.
"I am in favor of dialogue and the evacuation of outposts with the settlers' consent, but if it was decided that an outpost is to be cleared, it will be cleared in its entirety," said the minister.
In response to Aharonovitch's statement, Ben Ari said "It is regrettable that the minister doesn't check with the victim before jumping to conclusions. The minister should be investigating the police, not protecting violent cops."
IDF Central Command Chief Major-General Gadi Shamni also addressed the incidents in Yitzhar, saying "In hope what we saw yesterday will not repeat itself, but if disturbances do occur we'll deal with them appropriately."
Settler violence began Monday morning as a group of masked youths began blocking roads in the West Bank. Some of the rioters attacked Palestinian passersby.
Palestinian sources said four were injured in the attack, one of whom was rushed to the hospital with a cracked skull. Police dispute the claim, saying one man was lightly injured. No one was arrested.
Shortly after 5:00 am police received a report that masked settlers were hurling rocks along route 55 near the settlements of Kedumim and Karni Shomron. According to the Palestinians, the settlers had placed stones on the road itself and when passing cars stopped to clear them from the way – the passengers were pelted with rocks and beaten.