An initial investigation into the settler attack on an IDF outpost early Tuesday morning revealed the soldiers stood idly by as settlers wreaked havoc, and highlighted the army's inability to deal with Jewish settlers.
Six Border Police officers were lightly hurt when far-right Israeli extremists attacked an IDF post used by reservists guarding the settlement Yitzhar, located in the northern West Bank.
The Border Policemen had begun to demolish illegal structures at the settlement when local Jewish residents began throwing stones at the troops. Two police officers required medical attention.
Settlers at Yitzhar slammed the demolition as a "price tag" attack carried out by the military in revenge for attacks on Israeli security personnel in recent days.
Police officers at Yitzhar, following settlers' attack (Photo: George Ginsburg) Photo: George Ginsburg Destroyed IDF post at Yitzhar (Photo: George Ginsburg) Photo: George Ginsburg
An initial investigation by the IDF's Shomron Regional Brigade revealed that at around 5:30 am Tuesday, some 50 settlers decided to take revenge for the demolitions – which took place hours before in a different area of the settlement by Border Guard officers and Civil Administration forces.
The settlers arrived at the small tent outpost, manned by six soldiers responsible for securing the settlement, which in the past has been scene to incursion by Palestinian terrorists.
"The Jewish rioters ordered the soldiers to stand aside and promised not to harm them," said a senior source in the regional brigade. "This went on for three to five minutes, with the soldiers standing by amazed and astounded, then the settlers began destroying the post's equipment, including tents, heating equipment, a gas tank, bathrooms and water tank – all destroyed," he said.
According to him the soldiers failed to confront the settlers because they lack the training and direct mandate to deal with settlers: "We are not here to deal with the Jews (settlers) and these soldiers weren't prepared for such a situation in which they need to deal with those they are here to protect. We are currently learning the event and will have to learn the necessary lessons."
Tuesday morning the reserve soldiers stationed in Yitzhar described the attack, and slammed the settlers for their behavior. In the past, they claimed, settlers "slashed our tires, spit in our faces, but today was like a knife in the back.
"We left families with little children, academic studies, work, we even left our political opinions at home, all for one purpose: To protect the lives of settlers and preserve law and order. Instead we get violence and humiliation. At this rate it is only a matter of time until we will see violence turned on soldiers or police officers."
The attack was launched in response to the demolition of a number of structures in Yitzhar. Local residents threw stones at the troops as they began the demolition work on homes ruled to be illegally constructed, and the security station at the settlement was set alight.
Demolished structures in Yitzhar (Photo: Yitzhar Spokesman) Photo: Yitzhar Spokesman Photo: Tazpit News Agency
Yitzhar settler Eliyahu, whose home was torn down as part of the demolition mission conducted by the forces, said: "A friend told me to come to my house that was almost near completion, because police forces were encircling it. The police blocked me, so I came on foot, but it was already too late, the house was completely destroyed."
The settler claimed he was being targeted and invoked the Holocaust to justify his indignation: "There was no warrant, and the destruction caught me by complete surprise. I just cannot understand how after all the Jews went through in the Holocaust, their grandchildren can work to destroy Jewish homes."
Monday night saw the tires of a military jeep slashed. The military turned to the police to investigate the incident which took place while soldiers were patrolling the parameter of the settlement. According to the investigation, the soldiers pulled over for a few minutes and then unknown settlers crawled behind the vehicle and slashed its back tires. They then fled the scene.
Sunday saw another incident of tire slashing; this time the target was Shomron Regional Brigade Commander Yoav Marom who was visiting the settlement. A youth was later arrested in connection to the event and his remand had been extended by five days.