Observations on the Fighting at Yitzhar Today


UPDATES 10 pm Israel time, Tuesday, April 8 2014:

There has been another attempted infiltration of Israel through the porous Gaza Border fence. Fortunately the Palestinian terrorist was captured by an alert IDF patrol.

Within the last few minutes, there has been a stabbing in the Nachaolot section of Jerusalem. No further information is available at this hour.

TODAY’S BLOG

Yitzhar (alternately spelled Yizhar) was the scene of violence last night as Israeli security forces destroyed 3 structures within the Jewish community which had been deemed “illegal”.

First some background: Yitzhar is located in the eastern Samarian part of Area C of Judea and Samaria on a steep hilltop ridge 810 meters above sea level slightly south and west of Shechem (Nablus). On a clear day, a person can stand in Yitzhar and easily see Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean Sea.  Because of its important location, the IDF built an outpost there in 1983–which by 1984 had become a full-blown Jewish community which today numbers more than 210 families.

Just off the left side of this map is Tel Aviv; the road at the bottom of the map leads to Ramallah and Jerusalem.

Just off the left side of this map is Tel Aviv; the road at the bottom of the map leads to Ramallah and Jerusalem.

Here is another map of the neighborhood:

Note the proximity to Highway 60, and Itamar (graphic: NYTimes)..

Note the proximity to Highway 60, and Itamar (graphic: NYTimes)..

But life in Yitzhar has never been easy.

Regular readers of israelstreet know that Highway 60 and especially the Huwwara Junction are the sites of daily “rock” and Molotov cocktail attacks on Israeli motorists, and that Yitzhar and Itamar have been the scene of numerous murders of Israelis–most notably the Fogel family of Itamar by Palestinians who came from nearby Awarta. 

So what happened today?

It all started a few days ago when a jeep belonging to an IDF commander had a few of its tires slashed by an individual at Yitzhar.

Notice the flat, back left tire.

Notice the flat, back left tire.

The slashing of the tires on the jeep was roundly condemned by everyone from Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to Shimon Peres to Tzipi Livni to the spokesman for the Yitzhar community. 

Nevertheless, Israeli police, Border Guards, and regular IDF soldiers operating at the behest of the Civil Administration showed up at 3 am last night to destroy 3 buildings in Yitzhar which had been suddenly deemed “illegal”.

The phalanx of Israeli security personnel that showed up in the middle of the night (picture source on photo: observation agency).

The phalanx of Israeli security personnel that showed up in the middle of the night (picture source on photo: observation agency).

They proceeded to destroy a family home, two residential trailers, and a wooden structure. This was the scene of destruction this morning as the sun rose:

Not much was left.

Not much was left.

But the destruction did not proceed smoothly. The residents of the community turned out in force, burning tires and throwing rocks. At the same time, the security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to push the community members back.  At least two elderly Jewish community members were treated for gas inhalation. 

Shortly thereafter, some members of the community rampaged through the nearby IDF post tearing up tents and portable cots–as the reserve soldiers at the outpost watched and refused to engage the Jewish attackers:

A large tent covering these portable cots was destroyed (photo: walla).

The scene mid-morning: a large tent covering these portable cots was destroyed (photo: walla).

So where does this leave the situation as of this hour?

*There has been the usual deluge of castigation of the “settlers” by the Israel media. Those who “fought” against the security personnel have been branded “radical extremists.”

*Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has harshly condemned the attacks on IDF security personnel.

*The commander of the reserves at the outpost said: “I have been doing reserve duty for 16 years, including eight years as a senior officer, and I have never encountered this kind of violence, or something approaching it.” He went on to say that his troops were there to protect the community and were not prepared to fight against them.

*A spokesman for Yitzhar had this to say:  “The policy of destruction and collective punishment (punishing the community because one person had slashed tires) against the residents of Yitzhar by the authorities is outrageous. It can not be that the Israeli government and security forces demolished the homes of innocent as revenge because of the illegitimate actions of one individual, no matter how severe. We urge the security forces and its head to stop this policy and to immediately stop the cycle of escalating hostilities. “

Permit your humble servant a few observations today.

To begin with, as you know, this blog never sanctions attacks on Israeli soldiers and does not sanction them today. For whatever injuries were inflicted by Jewish rioters and whatever damage was caused to IDF facilities, the persons responsible must be held accountable.

The fraudulent stereotyping of Jewish community members throughout Judea and Samaria as “radical extremists” by the Israeli media and the IDF must stop. In your humble servant’s opinion, if those members were not living where they are, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem would be under daily attack. The people who live in the communities of Judea and Samaria should be praised not pilloried.

The absurdity of the Civil Administration targeting 3 supposedly “illegal” buildings in Yitzhar when there are more than 30,000 untouched illegal Palestinian buildings in Area C is flabbergasting.

Finally, last night’s episode took place over the destruction of 3 residential structures and the eviction of one family. Can you even begin to imagine what would transpire should the government decide to forcibly remove the more than 350,000 Israelis who now live in Judea and Samaria?

I leave it to your imagination.

 

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