Settlement (archive photo)
Photo: Menachem Brody, Yesha council website
Judea and Samaria Police detained two settlers from Yitzhar on Thursday for allegedly setting Palestinian farmlands on fire.
According to the Palestinians, the settlers torched lands belonging to the Palestinian villages of Ma'adama and Burin, located near Yitzhar, as well as fields that belong to the village of Kfar Sara, located near the Havat Gilad settlement southeast of Kedumim.
Earlier, Palestinian sources in the West Bank reported that fields under Palestinian ownership were set ablaze in the Nablus and Kedumim areas. According to them, firefighters were prevented from approaching the area as they would have to pass through Jewish settlements.
Also in the West Bank Thursday, the IDF razed Yad Yair just moments before the High Court of Justice issued a temporary restraining order against the army's intent to tear down structures in the illegal outpost.
Meanwhile, Palestinian residents of Asira al-Kabaliya reported a gathering of settlers near Yitzhar and said they fear a repeat of Saturday's rampage through their village, which followed the stabbing of a 9-year-old Jewish boy.
According to Mueed Shtaya, head of the Palestinian Authority's civil defense in the Nablus area, the Israeli army permitted the entry of Palestinian firefighters into Kfar Sara, but denied their entry into Ma'adama and Burin due to the fact that they would have to pass through Havat Gilad in order to reach the Palestinian villages.
"On the way back from Kfar Sara the IDF delayed one of our fire engines for more than an hour-and-a-half," he told Ynet, "but when they did let us pass we asked to reach the other fire focal but were prevented from doing so. Meanwhile the fire is continuing to spread across the agricultural lands."
Arik Asherman of Rabbis for Human Rights told Ynet upon his arrival at the scene "the army says everything is fine, but this is not the case. The army is doing nothing, and in the meantime more trees and lands are being burned.
"It is not enough that the prime minister (Ehud Olmert) condemns the actions of the settlers from Yitzhar, he must work to stop them. The olive harvest will be starting soon, and (Olmert) must make sure that it is not interrupted," he said.
Efrat Weiss contributed to the report