IDF Central Command Chief Major-General Avi Mizrahi called the rioting of dozens of settlers on Monday night "a very serious incident" during which "Israeli Jews rioted on Road 55 and damaged vehicles, including IDF cars."
Speaking to reporters at the Ephraim Brigade base Tuesday evening, Mizrahi said, "We will do all it takes to get our hands on the rioters and judge them severely.
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"I have yet to hear any harsh condemnation from the settler leadership, which is mostly normative and Zionist," he added. "In my 30 years in the IDF I have yet to see such Jewish hatred like the one directed at our soldiers."
Some 300 settlers hurled stones at Palestinian vehicles overnight Tuesday on the main road near the outpost of Ramat Gilad fearing it would be evicted. They also opened the door of the Ephraim Brigade commander's jeep and pelted the vehicle with stones, causing the officer and his deputy light wounds.
In a separate incident, some 50 settlers and right-wing activists broke into the Ephraim Territorial Brigade's base in the West Bank in protest of the possible eviction of several illegal outposts early on Tuesday. Once inside the base, they torched tires, hurled Molotov cocktails and stones, and caused damage to vehicles. A settler from Beit El was arrested. Police have launched an investigation.
Mizrahi continued to say that the violence was "planned, not sporadic," adding that it had erupted "in light of the government's order to evict West Bank outposts by the end of the year, in accordance with its pledge to the High Court of Justice."
The Central Command chief said Ephraim Brigade commander Ran Kahana was injured when a settler hit him with a stone at close range. Mizrahi said the settler called Kahana a "Nazi."
"The brigade commander's grandmother is a Holocaust survivor," Mizrahi told the press conference. Red lines have been crossed.
The IDF would continue to carry out the government's orders, the general said. "We will enforce the law despite those who believe they can intimidate us (with violence). Should the government order us to evict Ramat Gilad, we will evict Ramat Gilad. Period," Mizrahi stressed.
The Central Command chief said the incidents were not the result of an intelligence failure. "We knew of their (settlers) plans, and we were not surprised," he said.