Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman on Sunday condemned a rock throwing attack allegedly carried out by Israeli settlers in the West Bank over the weekend in which an IDF officer was injured, calling the perpetrators “thugs.”
In a Facebook post, Liberman said that there is “zero tolerance” for violence toward soldiers and that the attackers must be brought to justice.
“The legal authorities must judge these thugs severely in a swift and firm manner,” he said. “This is a grave problem that we cannot be forgiving toward.”
Liberman made no mention of other incidents over the weekend in which Palestinians and left-wing activists were targeted by settlers.
The incident Liberman was referring to took place during a clash between settlers and Palestinians near the northern West Bank village of Urif.
Palestinian officials said the incident started after dozens of settlers from the nearby community of Yitzhar attacked Palestinian homes on the eastern side of the village. According to the army, some 50 settlers took part in the violence, during which one Palestinian was wounded upon being struck by a rock. Palestinian media reported that four Palestinians were injured by rubber bullets fired by IDF soldiers.
While troops attempted to break up the violence, a group of “extremist” settlers began to throw rocks at them, injuring one officer, who was hit in the hand, the army said in a statement.
“The IDF views any attempts to harm security forces with grave seriousness and will work in conjunction with the legal authorities against these efforts,” the statement added.
In a separate incident on Friday, a group of masked settlers attacked a number of left-wing activists in the West Bank, beating them with baseball bats and rocks and reportedly breaking one activist’s arm.
A video of the incident captured by a left-wing activist at the scene and published by B’Tselem showed masked youths rushing at the activists, screaming obscenities while hurling stones and swinging sticks and bats.
B’Tselem said the incident occurred near the village of Al-Auja in the Jordan Valley and that Palestinian villagers were also attacked. The attackers were said to be youths from a nearby outpost, Baladim.
IDF helicopters dispersed the attackers from the scene.