West Bank settlers attack soldiers

By Jessica Elgot, April 21, 2010
Yitzhar residents have previously protested in the Palestinian village of Madma.

Yitzhar residents have previously protested in the Palestinian village of Madma.

Settlers from the West Bank town of Yitzhar have wounded an IDF soldier, hurled stones and slashed the tyres of a military vehicle.

The IDF strongly condemned the attacks, said to be in response to a closed military zone order against the settlers to keep them from entering the Palestinian village of Madma, south of Nablus.

The settlers, mainly teenagers, had intended to visit Madma on Yom Ha’atzmaut to protest against the settlement building freeze. A clash ensued after security forces tried to prevent the settlers from going any further.

The soldiers claimed that around 30 youths had arrived at the scene, and four masked men threw stones and bottles.

One IDF soldier was injured after a light bulb filled with paint, thrown by one of the settlers, exploded in his face.

A teenager has been taken into custody after he was seen deliberately puncturing the tyre of an army vehicle.

An unnamed officer told Ha’aretz that the men were students at a local yeshiva, known for causing trouble.

But the youths claim they became angry when they were stopped from going on a hiking trip, and allege that the IDF fired live ammunition into the air, something the army denies.

Central Command chief Major-General Avi Mizrahi has said his commanders are gathering information to pursue legal action.

An IDF spokesman said: "This violence against soldiers constitutes an intolerable crossing of a red line on Israel's day of celebration, Yom Ha’atzmaut. This intolerable and irregular behaviour will be dealt with, with a firm hand.”

Last updated: 12:10pm, April 21 2010