Four Palestinian school children and two soldiers sustained light injuries on Saturday during clashes with settlers near the Maon Farm in southern Mount Hebron. The troops fired in the air in response to the settlers' aggression, and the rioters consequently withdrew.
The area where the fighting took place has been declared a closed military zone, in a bid to prevent further confrontations from erupting there.
School children from the Palestinian village of Hirbat el-Tawani are routinely escorted by soldiers on their way back home from school in the village of Tuba, due to frequent harassments by neighboring settlers.
On Saturday, the children and the troops accompanying them were assaulted by several residents of the Maon Farm located on the students' route home.
The settlers hurled stones and cinder blocks at the children and soldiers, and one of the settlers unleashed his dog at the troops. A violent clash erupted at the place, during which four students and two soldiers were wounded. All were treated on the spot by an IDF paramedic.
Peace Now Secretary-General Yariv Oppenheimer said in response to the incident that "the new defense minister, Amir Peretz, must demonstrate leadership and instruct that the Maon Farm – from which settler violence is unleashed on a daily basis - be evacuated immediately."
"The outposts have become a habitat for the hilltop youth, and Peretz must act against them," he added.
Knesset Member Ran Cohen (Meretz) called on Defense Minister Amir Peretz and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter to arrest and bring to justice the settlers who routinely throw stones at Palestinian children in the southern Mount Hebron region.
"The IDF and the police have showed their inaptitude against the ongoing harassments, and the new ministers should send a signal to the settlers that 'the party is over' and that the new government will not accept this kind of lawlessness," he added.