Olmert. 'Intolerable phenomenon'
Photo: AFP
Photo: Yitzhar Regional Council
House set on fire in Yitzhar
Photo: Yitzhar Regional Council

Olmert slams settlers' 'pogrom against non-Jews'

Prime minister harshly criticizes Yitzhar residents who launched revenge campaign in West Bank village following stabbing attack which left nine-year-old child injured. 'The phenomenon of violent and brutal riots is intolerable,' he says

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday harshly criticized settlers who launched a revenge campaign in a West Bank village after a Palestinian stabbed and injured a nine-year-old boy in the settlement of Yitzhar Saturday.


"The phenomenon of taking the law into one's hands and violent and brutal rioting is intolerable, and will receive an immediate response by the law enforcement authorities," Olmert said at the start of the weekly cabinet meeting.


"There will be no pogroms against non-Jewish residents in the State of Israel," he added.


"A terror attack took place over the weekend in northern Samaria against a Yitzhar resident. A terrorist entered the community, a young boy was injured and there was an attempt to carry out a more severe attack. This is a serious and grave matter.


"The security forces are handling this issue and will reach anyone involved in this attack. They will do all that is needed and everything they do on a regular basis in a dignified manner," the prime minister said. 


He then went on to attack the Yitzhar settlers who flocked to the nearby village of Asira al-Kabaliya to avenge the attack.


"Nonetheless, Yitzhar settlers responded and attacked Palestinian residents, using live ammunition. There is no reason to assume that there was any information that these residents were involved in the incident in Yitzhar.


"The phenomenon of taking the law into one's hands, this violent and brutal rioting is an intolerable phenomenon, and it will be handled by the law enforcement elements. There will be no pogroms against non-Jewish residents in the State of Israel."


Injured evacuated in Palestinian village (Photo: Reuters)


The prime minister added that there are those responsible for maintaining law and order and blasted those hurting the law enforcement forces.


"We have law enforcement, army and security forces who are responsible for this. We won't allow such violent and brutal acts against residents, not to mention the fact that this violence is not only directed against those suspected to be terrorists, but against IDF officers and soldiers as well. A company commander was recently injured in his hand.


"I call on the law enforcement authorities to work to stop this severe phenomenon," he concluded.


Barak: We'll work to enforce law

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said earlier, "We will use all our might to protect Israelis wherever they are, while simultaneously making sure that all law authorities enforce the law."


Barak spoke during a Labor ministers' meeting, during which criticism was voiced against law enforcement authorities, and particularly the State Prosecutor's Office, for failing to enforce the law in the territories.


Saturday's violent clashes began in a stabbing attack in a neighborhood in Yitzhar. A Palestinian entered the place, stabbed a nine-year-old child and set fire to an empty house of a family who had spent the weekend outside the community.


"The Yitzhar attack is a very serious incident and it's clear that the terrorist fled to the village of Asira al-Kabaliya," a military source said following the attack.


Several hours later, Yitzhar residents launched their own "revenge campaign." Dozens of them arrived in the neighboring Palestinian village and, according to local residents, began firing in the air and destroying property, injuring at least six people and causing heavy damage.


A senior IDF official told Ynet following the clashes that "if we want to handle this phenomenon of citizens taking the law into their own hands, we need more police in the area."


Yitzhar residents urged the army to order an inquiry into the stabbing. Yitzhar Spokesman Yigal Amitai told Ynet that the community's wheat fields were set on fire seven times in recent months.


פרסום ראשון: 09.14.08, 10:43
 new comment
This will delete your current comment