'Day of Rage' Over Gilad Farm Destruction
Protestors tried to block the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway and are planning other demonstrations in a nationwide "Day of Rage" over the destruction of a soldier's home in the Gilad Farm community in Samaria.
Early Thursday morning, more than a dozen nationalist protesters placed burning tires at the main entrance to Jerusalem, simultaneously blocking traffic on Route 1, the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. They were removed by police within a short time.
A spokesman for the Council of Judean and Samarian Communities (Yesha Council) told reporters said the Council is not backing the protests.
Nevertheless, Samaria Mayor Gershon Mesika has condemned a government decision to jail a soldier who said he would not return to the army until his home, destroyed by the Civil Administration, is rebuilt.
IDF Kfir Brigade soldier Shimon Weizman returned home on Monday to find his home among those demolished by the Civil Administration, despite efforts by residents to prevent the destruction.
He was dismissed from his unit and jailed for 30 days after announcing his decision.
“It is odd that on an occasion so serious," Mesika said, "when dozens of police officers were documented firing plastic bullets on civilians who did nothing, it was decided to judge the fighter and community resident whose house was violently and brutally destroyed in the middle of the night while he risked his life as a combat soldier in the civil service.”
Mesika added, “It is clear that the wild violence and massive firing of plastic bullets directly on citizens are much more serious than a fighter's television interview without permission from the IDF Spokesman. It would be appropriate to first put the violent police officers on trial, and especially those who gave them the order to use such violence.”
Fifteen people were wounded during the demolition. Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch defended police actions in testimony to the Knesset on Wednesday, saying the police "found themselves in danger." Residents denied this, including one who said he had just arrived on the scene when a policeman approached him and fired a plastic bullet at his chest from a range of "a few centimeters."