Photo: Reuters
Hebron clashes
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
Two settlers arrested
Photo: Reuters

Settlers, security forces clash in Hebron

Hundreds of settlers hurl stones at houses of Palestinians, hit officer who arrives to evacuate them; earlier, army prevents 200 settlers from breaking into city's ancient quarter

An IDF soldier was lightly wounded after being hit in his eye by a stone hurled by settlers Saturday afternoon in the West Bank city of Hebron.


Saturday marked the third day of riots by settlers against security forces and Palestinians in the city, in light of the plan to evacuate Hebron's wholesale market.


Security sources estimated that the riots were also motivated by the evacuation of the Neveh Daniel outpost in Gush Etzion, as well as the evacuation of constructions in the Amona outpost near the settlement of Ofra.


About 150 settlers began throwing stones at houses of Palestinians in a Hebron neighborhood. Army and police forces arrived at the area, but the settlers continued with the stoning.


An IDF officer was injured and received initial medical treatment on the scene, after which he was evacuated to a nearby army base for further treatment.


In addition, IDF soldiers prevented about 200 settlers from breaking into the city's ancient quarter.

Clashes in Hebron (Photo: Reuters)


 The Hebron Police arrested two settlers, one of them a teenage girl, on suspicion of taking part in riots in the past two days.


The girl is suspected of assaulting an IDF officer Saturday evening and of blocking a firefighters vehicle two days ago along with other settlers, after settlers set fire to an abandoned Palestinian house. The second settler is also suspected of assaulting the officer and of rioting.


'Settlers sabotaging ability to compromise'


Security sources told Ynet Saturday evening that "the series of violent incidents in the past few days is very serious."


"These days, when the defense establishment is trying to find a compromise in the complex system in order to prevent violent clashes, it seems that some of the settlers are trying to sabotage the ability and motivation to do so," a source said. 


Noam Arnon, spokesman of the Hebron Jewish settlement, told Ynet Saturday evening that "if a soldier was injured, I am deeply sorry. No one intended on hurting him."


Arnon called on the IDF to renegotiate the issue of the Hebron wholesale market and warned that "we shall not be expelled without resistance. There will be a stubborn struggle here."


In response to the past days' events, Arnon said that "there were no incidents in the past few days, apart from one terrible incident in which Arabs started provoking Jews, and they repaid them."


Arnon added that negotiations were held recently on the issue of the Hebron market, but that the army handed out the eviction notices for January 15, which caused a lot of anger and a great feeling of injustice.


"Following the orders, a lot of people who are not willing to hold back arrived in Hebron," he said.


"The Jewish Settlement Committee is trying to calm the people down, but does not always succeed. Most of the people are not from Hebron, but there are also some from Hebron," he added.


"There is a solution for the situation, and that is to renegotiate," Arnon concluded.


'Riots result of soldier's provocation'


Baruch Marzel, chairman of the Jewish-National Front party, said that "the riots in Hebron are the result of provocation and use of unreasonable force by the soldiers and police officers."


"The police officers have been beating, arresting and abusing children and women for three days now, and therefore friction and commotion were created," he said.


Knesset Member Zahava Gal-On (Meretz-Yahad) said in response to the clashes that the police and security forces "have once again showed their shameful helplessness in dealing with the hooligan settlers in Hebron."


Meretz officials said that Gal-On on Friday demanded from Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra to deal with the riots in the Hebron market.


Five Israelis were detained in Hebron Friday night following riots that took place in the city. In the first incident, two men were arrested on suspicion of hurling stones at a police vehicle.


The two were carrying a sharpened screwdriver and a needle for punching tires. A police officer was injured during the arrest. He cut his hand and was evacuated for medical treatment.


In the second incident, three female teenagers were arrested after breaking into a shop belonging to a Palestinians near the Jewish settlement in Hebron. Border Guard officers were forces to evacuate the girls.


During the riots, settlers set fire to a house near the Cave of the Patriarchs, four days after its Palestinian residents abandoned it. Palestinian fire fighters who arrived in the area were stoned.


Paint and stones were hurled at a Border Guard jeep, and a police car was also stoned. The police arrested a 10-year-old suspect, but released him due to his young age.


Roee Nahmias contributed to the report


פרסום ראשון: 01.14.06, 17:55
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