Violent riots broke out Thursday between residents of the Yitzhar settlement in West Bank and police forces, during the tearing down of an illegal structure in Havat Shaked within the settlements.
Five policemen were injured – one police woman suffering a moderate head injury from a stone was evacuated to the hospital. The settlers reported 10 wounded, one of which was rendered unconscious. Eight more settlers were arrested.
After tearing down the structure and a hanger in Givat Lehava neighborhood, which was carried out with no unusual incidents, large police forces and Civil Administration officers moved on to tear down a trailer in Havat Shaked in Yitzhar. The residents prepared for the event ahead of time – and clashes ensued upon the forces' arrival.
The settlers claimed the had police exercised undue force, and that the demolition order was illegal. The clashes went on for some time, until a police bulldozer finally tore down the trailer.
The Judea and Samaria Police arrested eight settlers on suspicion of assaulting police officers and disorderly conduct during the tearing down of the illegal structures in the settlement.
The police left the scene a few hours after the clashes began, while the settlers vowed to restore the ruins. Extreme right-wing activist and National Jewish Front Chairman Baruch Marzel criticized the police’s violence in Yitzhar saying “the Judea and Samaria Police who are planning another Amona must be severely judged.”
'Stop hurting the Land of Israel'
Former Kdumin Council Head Daniela Weiss was there with one clear message: “There will be no confrontation as long as they stop hurting the Land of Israel.”
Weiss told Ynet that hundreds of teenagers and adults from Yitzhar and the neighboring communities arrived at Havat Shaked, knowing it was scheduled for destruction.
“When I climbed the hill, I saw the security forces, who were aiming to tear down the trailers come down empty-handed; it gets no better than that.” Weiss said. “We are now rebuilding the trailer that was demolished by the forces.”
The upcoming High Rabbinical Court discussion regarding illegal outpost evacuations is supposed to result in a ruling on the withdrawal of five more settlements, the Defense Ministry has promised. Weiss on the other hand promises that the protest will only escalate: “Should they attempt to remove even a single container, beam, thorn or rock – the whole country will go up in flames,” she warned.
Police Commissioner Albert Ohayon told Ynet that his forces went on a search of the Yitzhar yeshiva following reports of weapons being held there, and were also going to demolish some illegal structures that had already been issued demolition orders by the Civil Administration.
Ohayon added that lately, extremists from Yitzhar have increased their hostile activity towards Palestinians by stoning them and setting fires to their wheat fields.