Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has instructed security forces to prioritize demolishing illegal homes in Jewish settlements that have seen violent encounters between settlers and soldiers, Army Radio reported Wednesday.
GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon met with Jewish West Bank mayors prior to the Passover holiday to remind them of the new policy, two months after they were first apprised of it by the head of the Civil Administration in the West Bank, David Menachem, the report said.
Ya’alon pledged to the Supreme Court last year to order the demolition of illegal outposts before they become populated.
The policy was already in place and figured into the demolition of several illegal buildings in Yitzhar in early April after a resident of the settlement slashed the tires of an IDF commander’s jeep.
Following the demolition, some 50 Jewish rioters then attacked the military headquarters in the settlement in an attempt to tear the structure down.
During that melee the settlers threatened the soldiers, all of them reservists, telling them to stand aside to avoid getting hurt. They then began to destroy army property in the settlement.
Eight people, including six Border Police guards, were injured. All of the military equipment at the site was destroyed, including tents, heating equipment, a toilet, and a water tank.
Border Police later took over the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva building in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, as security forces continued to take steps against violent acts originating from the community.
Numerous government and army officials have decried settler violence against the IDF, as well as the so-called price tag attacks against Palestinians, and Ya’alon is among several who have gone on record referring to it as terrorism.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.