Police arrested four far-right activists, including two minors, for distributing fliers on Thursday that excoriated an IDF official and claimed he “shoots at Jews.”
The leaflets targeting Col. Gilad Amit were printed less than a week after the Samaria Brigade chief took part in the evacuation of an illegal outpost in the northern West Bank. During the razing of the outpost, the army said soldiers were forced to use live fire after non-compliant settlers hurled stones at them.
Three of the hilltop youth — two adults and a minor — were arrested in the aftermath of the Saturday clash, but have since been released after charges were filed against them.
According to the Honenu legal aid organization representing the suspects from the outpost evacuation (as well as the four activists arrested Thursday), the soldiers had used excessive force in razing the hilltop. The group said the live fire had nearly hit their clients.
In addition to criticizing the handling of the outpost evacuation with the phrase “Samaria Brigade chief Gilad Amit shoots at Jews,” the fliers also panned the senior IDF official’s broader “harassment of the settlement movement.”
The leaflets claimed Amit had been behind recurrent outpost demolitions throughout the West Bank, including one on the Yom Kippur holiday where soldiers poured a “smelly substance” on the homes of residents.
“So who really is the one inflaming the area?” one flier asks, using a phrase employed by the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit in the past to describe the actions of “hilltop youth” — young people who move to settlement outposts, resist soldiers’ attempts to evacuate them, and have sometimes been known to carry out price-tag and other hate crime attacks.
Police said the four activists — two adults and two minors — were interrogated on suspicion of “insulting a public servant” and will be brought before the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Thursday evening at the conclusion of the Independence Day holiday where authorities will request their remand be extended.
Nati Rom, the Honenu attorney representing the suspects, said police had no grounds to continue detaining his clients.
“As the Supreme Court has ruled in the past, these are not crimes [that they are being suspected of committing], and definitely not crimes that warrant an arrest,” Rom said in a statement.
“The police are using detention as a punitive measure, and this is against the law,” he added.