The Jerusalem Post
October 28, 2008 - 8:00pm

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Wednesday ordered an increase in the use of injunctions against violent offenders in Judea and Samaria.

In a meeting at his Tel Aviv office with senior defense officials, Barak said the recent spate of settler violence was unacceptable and ordered the establishment of a monitoring team to examine events.

"The attempts to form cracks in the authority of the state and its representatives, the IDF and Israel Police, in Judea and Samaria is extremely severe. The state - the defense establishment and the law enforcement authorities - must provide a response to this unacceptable phenomenon and eradicate it," said Barak.

In recent months there have been a number of acts of illegal outpost activity and violence committed by West Bank settlers against Palestinian villagers and IDF soldiers.

On Monday, a Muslim cemetery in Hebron was vandalized and the tires of 22 Palestinian cars were slashed early Sunday morning by settlers angry at the IDF evacuation of the unauthorized Federman Farm outpost in Kiryat Arba.

During that evacuation, right-wing activist Shmuel Ben-Ishay declared that he wished the soldiers who destroyed the outpost to die.

Referring to those remarks, Barak said, "We cannot tolerate such things, which undermine the country's authority over its citizens. The defense establishment will fiercely protect the residents of these areas, but it will also respond severely against anyone who dares harm the law enforcement authorities."

Last Wednesday, an IDF soldier was wounded after he was attacked by a group of masked far-right Jewish extremists while his unit was protecting Palestinian farmers harvesting their olive trees near the settlement of Otniel in the southern Hebron Hills.

Last month, 29 right-wing activists were arrested at an illegal protest outside the home of OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Shamni. The activists were demonstrating against injunctions banning several people from the territories.

Wednesday's meeting was attended by Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna'i, Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, Israel Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen, Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz and Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin.


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