Officer, 11 settlers injured during clashes in Tzofim
Civil Administration inspectors enforcing construction moratorium arrive at West Bank settlement to seize excavator; female Border Guard officer sustains moderate wounds in ensuing violence, locals lightly hurt. 'Due to Barak's political whims officers being instructed to injure innocent civilians,' Tzofim resident says
Fierce clashes broke out Tuesday between security forces and residents of Tzofim as Civil Administration inspectors arrived at the West Bank settlement in order to seize an excavator, which they claim was being used there in violation of the 10-month construction moratorium.
A female Border Guard sustained moderate wounds during the confrontations, while 11 settlers suffered mild injuries. The officer was evacuated to Kfar Saba's Meir Hospital.
Five settlers were detained for allegedly assaulting police.
Construction workers at the site initially tried to prevent the inspectors from confiscating the excavator, and 20 settlers arrived at the scene a short while later to confront the security forces. The settlers torched tires and placed boulders along the path leading to Tzofim in an effort to block the inspectors' entrance.
The settlers, for their part, said they had not violated the construction freeze orders. "The inspectors came and took equipment that was being used legally," Tzofim resident Yitzhak Basal told Ynet. "They loaded it onto a truck and we tried to prevent them from leaving.
"There was no illegal conduct here, but the inspectors acted like a bunch of hooligans," he said, "We tried to explain that everything was legal, but they wouldn't listen."
According to the settler, police forces "violently threw children and adults onto the sidewalks. Eleven people were injured. Some were treated here and others were evacuated to hospitals."
Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika asked IDF Central Command chief Maj.-Gen. Avi Mizrahi to remove the security forces from Tzofim, claiming that the construction work there had begun before the freeze orders were issued.
"It is shocking that because of (Defense Minister) Ehud Barak's political whims officers are being instructed to injure innocent civilians," he said.
Raanan Ben-Zur contributed to the report