The wave of arrests in Yitzhar Thursday morning and the attempt to enforce the West Bank construction moratorium there did not pass quietly. According to Palestinian sources, Jewish settlers from Yitzhar made their way to the nearby village of Hawara and vandalized kindergartens and homes. The settlers also set fire to Palestinian-owned agricultural land.
According to the Palestinians, the Jewish settlers threw stones, shattered windows and destroyed the roofs of local Palestinian homes.
The Palestinians said IDF soldiers did not prevent the settlers from venting their rage.
Shai-District police said they detained a bulldozer driver in Yitzhar for violating the construction moratorium. According to police, dozens of local settlers gathered at the scene, threw stones and burned tires.
Four settlers were detained on suspicion of rioting, police said.
"At least 60 or 70 settlers came down to the village and destroyed Muhammad el-Sabata's home; then they entered a public garden and began torching olive trees and destroy trees. They burned at least 60 trees," a Hawara resident told Ynet.
A resident of Yitzhar said, "We refuse to sit idly by. We will protest against those who throw stones at Jews."
Clashes in Yitzhar (Photo: Shomron Settlers' Committee)
Thursday also saw Civil Administration inspectors arrive at Yitzhar with IDF and Border Guard forces to stop illegal construction at the settlement, in accordance with the government's decision to temporarily freeze Jewish construction in the West Bank.
The settlers, for their part, claimed they were in possession of all the necessary building permits.
The Shomron Settlers' Committee said the IDF and Border Guard forces arrived at the settlement to "destroy a home" as part of the "price tag policy extracted against the Jewish settlers.
"The home in question is legal, but the officers mercilessly beat the residents who opposed its destruction," the committee said.
Knesset Member Otniel Schneller (Kadima) said that a policy of zero tolerance must be used against the "anarchist anti-Zionist rioters from Yitzhar."
Schneller, himself a resident of the settlement Maaleh Mikhmas, called on the settlement movement leaders to immediately remove the rioters from the West Bank "and jail them for many years." He added, "They do not represent Jewish halacha or human morality, and they undermine the settlement enterprise."
Ali Waked contributed to this report