'Day of rage': Rightists block Jerusalem-TA highway
In response to 'police violence' during razing of structures at Havat Gilad outpost, right-wing activists block traffic on Route 1, set tires on fire at entrance to capital. 'Every activist is operating independently,' one of them says; other rightists try to block train near Modi'in; Palestinian car torched near Ramallah
Some 15 right-wing activists blocked the highway connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv Thursday morning as part of a declared nation-wide "day of rage," organized to protest the demolition of illegal structures at the illegal Havat Gilad outpost in the West Bank.
At around 7:30 demonstrators managed to temporarily block traffic on Route 1 with tires until they were dispersed by police.
"We have come to protest against the police officers' rampage at Havat Gilad," one rightist told Ynet, "No one knows what is going to transpire in the next few hours. Every activist is operating independently." Settler claim 13 people were hit by rubber bullets during clashes with police in the outpost.
In a separate incident, tires were set on fire in the entrance to Jerusalem at around 7 am, in what security officials estimate was another protest linked to the "day of rage." The tires were cleared by police officers. The perpetrators were not caught.
J'lem-TeAviv road blocked near Latrun (Photo: Yair Altman)
Also Thursday morning, a number of rightists stood on the train tracks leading from Modi'in to Ben-Gurion Airport. They stepped off the tracks just before the train arrived.
Meanwhile, Palestinians from a village of Beit Ilu near Ramallah said settlers torched a car overnight.
In a conversation with Ynet, a village resident stated that "at 2:30 am we heard an unusual noise outside. We went out and saw six or seven settlers standing near the car of one of our neighbors and setting it on fire."
Later Thursday, some 50 right-wing activists gathered near a road leading from Qalqilya to Nablus in the West Bank to protest. Some of the protesters slashed the tires of a police cruiser standing at the scene. One was arrested.
Knesset Member Michael Ben Ari (National Union) said the responsibility for the rightist demonstrations lies with Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch. "Whoever backs officers who open fire at settlers should take into account that he is causing rage and despair," said the MK.
On Monday police and Civil Administration inspectors arrived at Havat Gilad to raze illegal structures. Rightists clashed with police, who responded with rubber bullets. Following the incident, hundreds of rightists clashed with and blocked roads in Jerusalem and the West Bank. In addition, as part of the settlers' "price-tag" policy, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Palestinian home in Hawara and Palestinian cars were damaged in Hebron.
Elior Levy contributed to the report
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