Photo: AFP
West Bank clash
Photo: AFP
Photo: Shaul Golan
Daniella Weiss
Photo: Shaul Golan
Settlers, soldiers clash
In rally to protest closing of route connecting between 2 West Bank areas, settlers violently confront security forces, throw paint at soldiers
A violent clash erupted Sunday between some 300 settlers and security forces in the West Bank settlement of Beit El, after settlers attempted to cross the "Wallerstein Route" connecting the community with the Gush Talmonim area near Ramallah. Settlers also threw paint at the soldiers.


The region was consequently declared a restricted military zone and six settlers were arrested. One soldier sustained very light wounds and required no medical treatment.


Kedumim Regional Council Head Daniella Weiss told Ynet: "The rally is a reaction to the whole issue of the convergence and the stationing of roadblocks in Judea and Samaria. This route connects Beit El and Gush Talmonim, and the distance between the two places is 10 minutes by car, but because they blocked the route people are forced to drive for one hour and 15 minutes."


"The route has been closed for six years now. There have been attempts to break through it, but they were unsuccessful," she said.


Weiss added that "youths who have not sinned are behind this incident. We are not talking about ten or dozens of people, but rather about hundreds, which shows that they are not intimidated at all."

Asked if the teens were not risking their lives, Weiss said: "Any place in the country is dangerous. The question is, first of all, how this country is treated and how the enemy is treated."


The "Wallerstein Route" has been closed for a long period of time due to numerous security incidents that took place on the road. A group of teens decided to hold a rally in the place, and march under the slogan, "Struggling against the closure policy, opening up the route between Beit El and Gush Talmonim."


Prior to the rally, the settlers were notified by the army they will not be allowed to hold the demonstration because of the security hazard involved.


Settlers: It affects our livelihood


The settlers nevertheless decided to hold the march against the army's instructions. They claimed that in recent years many transportation routes that served as "life lines" connecting between settlements have been closed by the defense establishment. According to the settlers, closing the routes cuts them off from many parts of the country, "enabling the enemy to takeover these areas." This trend is increasing, settlers stated, with more and more routes planned to be closed in the future.


According to the settlers, blocking the "Wallerstein Route" has disconnected the two areas, lengthened the drive from the Binyamin region to the heart of Israel by about an hour and negatively affected the livelihood of many.


First published: 16.04.06, 13:45
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