'IDF belongs to everyone.' Gantz at Ephraim Brigade base, Tuesday
Photo: Yoav Zitun

IDF chief: Settler violence absurd

After settlers injure army brigade commander and his deputy, Gantz calls reality in West Bank 'dangerous.' Netanyahu: Soldiers protect us, we'll protect them

IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz called the recent settler riots in the West Bank "inconceivable absurd."


Speaking at a reunion of National Security College graduates Tuesday evening, Gantz said Jewish violence in the territories was "a dangerous reality."


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.


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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.


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke to the graduates after Gantz, vowed to deal with the rioters with a heavy hand and said the settlers had crossed a red line when they attacked IDF soldiers.


"We will ban the rioters from the territories," the PM said in his speech. "We will not allow anyone to raise an arm against IDF soldiers and Israel Police officers. These people protect us all, and we will protect them.


Netanyahu stressed that the rioters do not represent the settler community.


The IDF chief also addressed a request by Israel's chief rabbis to excuse religious soldiers from events in which women sing. "The army belongs to the entire nation – to secular and religious people, men and women. I wish to take this opportunity to stress that the IDF does not exclude women from any place of position. There is no ban on female singing," he said.


"The army has terrific female officers, commanders and soldiers and it is proud of their contribution. They can serve anywhere," he added.


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פרסום ראשון: 12.13.11, 20:31
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