The stabbing attack and torching of an empty home in the settlement marked the "climax of the abuse perpetrated by Arab residents of the nearby village," Yitzhar Spokesman Yigal Amitai told Ynet. He also slammed the IDF conduct earlier in the day, referring to the army's failure to identify or capture the terrorist behind the attack.
Tense day in West Bank (Photo: AFP)
"It's clear to everyone that this incident could have ended disastrously," Amitai said. "A whole family would have been butchered and burned.
Yitzhar residents said that in recent months Arabs set seven fires in the settlement's wheat fields.
"To our regret, in all those incidents no real deterrent activity was conducted by the military and army," Amitai said.
The settlement spokesman also slammed the reactions issued by leftist Knesset members and groups during the Shabbat.
"They knew well that because of the sanctity of Shabbat we won't be able to respond in the media, and therefore took advantage of it," he said. Meanwhile, members of the Jewish National Front said that "the time has come for the Arabs to realize that Judea and Samaria residents aren't suckers…it would be better for the IDF and police to address Arabs who stab a nine-year-old Jewish boy, rather than target those who seek to defend themselves."
Following Saturday's stabbing, about 100 settlers raided the Palestinian village of Asira al-Kabaliya, fired in the air, shattered windows, and damaged property. Although bullet casings were found in the village, both the IDF and the settlers denied firing in the village. A senior IDF officer said the stabbing in Yitzhar was a "very grave incident" and added that officials know the attacker fled to the nearby village.
Referring to settler riots following the stabbing attack, the officer said that "if we want to handle this phenomenon of citizens taking the law into their own hands, we need more police in the area."