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Daily Israel Report

Arson in Samaria – Beginning of ‘September’ Riots?

An arson attack near Itamar gets massive security response as army gears up for possible PA riots.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/20/2011, 9:50 AM

Arab arson in Samaria (archive)
Arab arson in Samaria (archive)
Shomron Regional Council

An arson attack near the Jewish town of Itamar in Samaria on Monday night was met by a rapid and large-scale military response – a fact locals say is a sign of the high tension in advance of the Palestinian Authority’s planned statehood bid.

PA Arabs set fire to a field south of Itamar on Monday night, in what residents of Itamar explained was not an unusual occurrence. Despite the fact that PA gangs frequently set fire to Jewish fields in the region, this time, many soldiers were called up to put out the fire and search for the attackers.

“It seems that the IDF isn’t taking any chances, due to the uncertainty about the nature of the events expected this week,” one resident said.

The IDF has been calling up reserves for weeks in advance of the PA’s planned appeal to the UN this week to recognize it as a state. PA leaders say the UN vote will be accompanied by mass rallies in Judea and Samaria; the IDF is preparing for violence, but reminding soldiers to be cautious.

On Sunday, PA Arabs drove near the Jewish community of Negohot in a convoy and jeered, while on Monday, dozens blocked a road near the town of Neve Tzuf and clashed with IDF soldiers.