April 29, 2010 - 12:00am

Far-rightists from the West Bank settlement of Yizthar on Thursday marched through a neighboring Palestinian village and attacked local homes, to avenge a series of arrests by Israel Police earlier in the day.

The group stormed through Hawara to show their anger at the "police crusade against the settlers" after 11 residents of their community were detained, settler spokesman Avraham Binyamin.

They surrounded a Palestinian home in and hurled rocks through windows, according to the residents. People inside called for help through a loudspeaker, and the settlers fled as Palestinians converged on the area.

Israel Police raided Yitzhar early Thursday morning, arresting seven residents suspected of involvement in "price-tag" attacks on Palestinians. Four more residents were arrested soon after.

Most of the detainess, who included senior settlement officials, were released shortly after their arrests.

Extreme right-wing activist Baruch Marzel issued a statement in response to the arrests, saying that the Israel Defense Forces were "out to get" the settlers.

Extremist settlers declared the "price tag" campaign following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's declaration of a temporary freeze in West Bank construction late last year.

Yitzhar has been at the forefront of the settler movement's campaign, which calls for violent retaliation for government restrictions on Jewish building in the West Bank. Residents have launched numerous attacks on Palestinians, including an arson attack on a mosque in December 2009.

The IDF vowed last week to take serious steps to curb settle violence at Yitzhar, with assistance from local police and the Shin Bet security service's Jewish unit, set up to thwart violence by extremist settlers.
The move came after rioters clashed with soldiers in the settlement.

According to Yitzhar residents, IDF troops began harassing groups of visitors who wanted to tour the area, and prevented the visitors from entering the springs near the settlement.

The residents said that at a certain point, the soldiers tried to hold back one of the residents, which created upheaval among the settlers.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017