Four youths from the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin were arrested on Sunday and charged with drug use and throwing rocks at Palestinian cars. Two other teens from the same settlement were arrested last week. All six are between the ages 12 and 15, according to Israel Radio.
The four teens arrested on Sunday are also suspected of stealing money from the cash box at the settlement’s mikveh (ritual bath) as well as stealing mobile phones and cash from teenage girls who visited Bat Ayin. Three were also charged with taking a scooter from the settlement and operating it without a license.
The remand hearing for the youths was scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
On Saturday evening, a group of residents from Efrat, the largest settlement in the Gush Etzion bloc, met with the commander of the Etzion region brigade, Col. Yaniv Alaluf, to discuss the recent increase in stone-throwing incidents at Israeli vehicles in the West Bank.
“The profile of the stone throwers is surprising,” Alaluf told some 150 people. “We are talking mostly about children aged 12-14… many times when we arrest them they beg to be released before morning so that they can go to school.”
Alaluf added that in cases of children taking part in nationalist terror attacks, “we need to punish their parents.” While Israeli security forces will take whatever action is necessary to protect Israeli citizens, “nobody wants the situation to deteriorate to the point that we are killing 12-year-old Palestinian children from morning until night.”
According to Alaluf, the IDF is currently planning to build a new bypass road that would enable locals to avoid driving by the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar, considered to be one the main sources of stone-throwing incidents against Israeli cars. The road is expected to be completed within a year.
In the meantime, the commander of the Etzion police department, Eyal Atiya, told the residents that during stone-throwing incidents in which nobody is injured, “keep on driving and [afterwards] file a report.” He added that enforcement on the roads has been increased not only to deal with incidents of terror, but also because “Jews drive here in a catastrophic and dangerous manner.”