Beit El clashes (archive)
After tempers have calmed in Beit-El, the settlers and members of the security forces are blaming one another for being responsible for instigating Tuesday's clashes over the demolition of an illegally built structure during which 38 people were injured and nine others arrested.
Around 9 am, large troops of police and Civil Administration officials arrived in the town of Beit-El in order to demolish the foundations of a structure built by activists in the religious Komemiyut movement. The foundations were demolished, and then the forces tried leaving the town. Regarding what happened from here, opinions are divided.
"They beat us with clubs that they had in their hands. Using tear gas, the police dealt severe blows to the boys and the public," said one of the Beit-El residents to Ynet.
"At this point, two Beit-El Yeshiva students have been arrested, according to evidence. Following a conversation between the town's rabbi and yeshiva head Rabbi Zalman Melamed and a representative from Shai District Police, it was agreed that the residents would return to their houses and the two would be released. The rabbi agreed and instructed the public to leave the site. However, within a short time, it became clear that the police do not intend to uphold the agreement."
The police said in response to the residents' claims that their forces were brutally assaulted by some 150 protesters as they left the site. The police said that a gas grenade was even hurled at a Border Guard vehicle, and its tires slashed.
"Besides the four detained during the riots, another two boys were arrested for carrying assault weapons. There is also a female detainee who attacked a policeman. Two suspects were identified for throwing stones at the forces after the demolition. Eight policemen were injured and evacuated for medical treatment to hospitals in Jerusalem. Shai District Police views any assault on defense forces with severity and will bring those responsible to justice," said the police.
The Komemiyut movement was outraged at the police: "The decayed morality of Israel Police and its leader was expressed today in the rioting of Israel Police and the Civil Administration in the town of Beit-El. We regret the leader of the country's lack of spine who allows his defense minister to behave this way against residents loyal to the State and the land by dealing deadly blows and using tear gas."
Knesset Member Uri Ariel (National Union) added that the defense minister's fingerprints are arising from the details of the event as they come into focus. "As always, only the settlers are paying the price of his political and image failures. And what for? One little tin hut," he said.