Security forces arrested a teenager in the Yitzhar settlement for throwing stones at police early Wednesday morning, less than a day after a melee at the settlement between residents and police left six Border Police officers injured.
The Yasam special police patrol unit nabbed the 16-year-old after he hurled rocks at a police patrol in the area, Israel Radio reported.
The incident came after three days of increasingly violent confrontations between Yitzhar settlers and security forces that culminated early Tuesday morning with residents raiding an IDF command post near the settlement after security forces pulled down a number of illegal buildings.
Army reservists stationed in the settlement failed to turn back a rioting mob of dozens of settlers, who demolished their post and equipment in a violent predawn clash.
The settlers were protesting the demolition of five illegal buildings in the West Bank community overnight. The attack began just after the five structures were demolished by soldiers and policemen, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said.
Some 50 Jewish rioters then attacked the military headquarters in the settlement in an attempt to tear the structure down. They also hurled stones, burned tires and slashed tires on vehicles, police said.
According to a military source, during the melee, the settlers threatened the soldiers, all 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 guards, were injured. All of the military equipment at the site was destroyed, including tents, heating equipment, a toilet, and a water tank.
Police responded with “riot dispersal means,” injuring two settlers, Samri said. Eight people were arrested.
MK Elazar Stern (Hatnua), a member of the Knesset Legislation Committee, told Channel 10 in an interview on Wednesday that the Yitzhar settlement should be treated no differently to any other community that supports terror activities.
“That means at the entrance there should be checkpoints, and anybody who goes in should be checked,” he said. “And if there is a need to carry out searches in the middle of the night then they should do that.”
Stern added that the legislation committee was in the process of working on a legal definition of terror and that the activities in Yitzhar fell within that classification.
“I’m telling you, it’s terror,” he asserted.
Tuesday morning’s incident came hours after an IDF vehicle parked in the settlement had its tires slashed, in what is thought to be an act of Jewish nationalist extremists.
On Sunday, in another attack by extremist settlers at Yitzhar, tires on a car of the Israel Defense Force’s regional commander were punctured for the second time in months.