Yitzhar settler held for attack on police

Several of West Bank settlement’s residents suspected of involvement in ‘price tag’ attacks against Arab Israelis

The entrance to the settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank. (Flash90/File)
The entrance to the settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank. (Flash90/File)

A man in his twenties was arrested Sunday on suspicion of involvement in attacking police Saturday night during a search of a home in the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar.

The incident occurred during a police search at the home of a Yitzhar couple whose vehicle was used to carry out a “price tag” attack in Umm Al-Fahm. During that attack last month, vandals torched the front door of a mosque and spray-painted racist invective on its wall.

“Price tag” is a term used to describe acts of vandalism and violence associated with the settler movement in retaliation for Palestinian attacks and to protest what they perceive as the Israeli government’s pro-Palestinian policies. Mosques, churches, dovish Israeli groups and even Israeli military bases have been targeted in such assaults.

Residents of Yitzhar also punctured the wheels of a police car and threw rocks at the Border Police over the course of the tumultuous night Saturday.

In related news, Jerusalem Magistrates Court extended the arrest of Amichai Matoki, another resident of Yitzhar, until Wednesday, Israel Radio reported.

Matoki is suspected of involvement in the torching and desecrating of an Umm al-Fahm mosque.

Yitzhar, which is home to some of the more radical elements in the Jewish settler movement, has been a flashpoint for violence between right-wing activists and Israeli security forces.

In early April, an enraged mob protesting the demolition of five illegal buildings in the area stormed an army post in the settlement.

According to a military source, the settlers threatened the soldiers, all reservists, telling them to stand aside to avoid getting hurt. 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.

In the wake of that attack, a Border Police company was positioned in the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva building in Yitzhar.

Elie Leshem contributed to this story.

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