Minister of Strategic Affairs and former IDF Chief of Staff, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Tuesday told Israel Army Radio that angry youth who target IDF soldiers and materials are hurting Israel's settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.
"The settlement heads are also hurt by these outlaws," Ya'alon said. "They are also threatened. They are also victims."
"This shoots the country in the foot - and the settlements as well," he added. "We are not against the settlements."
Ya'alon's comments were made during an interview about last night’s raid on the Eprhaim Brigade headquarters in Samaria by some 50 angry Jewish youths who had heard rumors that demolition orders against Jewish outposts were to be carried out by soldiers.
During the raid, which saw clashes with soldiers, tires were burned and Molotov cocktails and stones were thrown. Soldiers had to call for police reinforcements to regain control of the compound.
In a separate incident, stones were hurled at the Ephrain Brigade commander's vehicle.
Ya'alon praised settlement leaders for denouncing the attacks and he placed the onus for dealing with the phenomenon clearly on the shoulders of the police and prosecutors.
"Their condemnation is right, but they are not the police, not the prosecution, and not the courts," Yaalon said. "The authorities are the ones who must act with more determination against last night's rioters at the Eprhaim Regional Brigade headquarters."
"You need to arrest them, to bring them in for questioning, and to prosecute them," Yaalon explained. "Not just those few rioters who have been arrested so far. All of them."
Yaalon's interview was given shortly after a special cabinet session convened by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was held to discuss the Ephraim Brigade incident. During the meeting Netanyahu called on senior security officials to draw up an 'Emergency Plan' for dealing with violence against soldiers in Judea and Samaria.
Like Ya'alon, Netanyahu sought to make a distinction between the actions of those who staged the attack and the Jewish mainstream in Judea and Samaria.
“There is a very small core that speaks of ideological unlawful acts. There is no such thing. It is just unlawful," Netanyahu said.
"This is something small that could become something large and terrible. We will stop it now," Netanyahu said.
Condemnation of the incident has been across the board among the heads of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria who described it as "shameful and disgraceful."
At the time of the disengagement from Gaza, observers predicted that using the IDF to banish Jews from their homes would lead to estrangement from the IDF of idealistic, young people who were shocked to see soldiers unemotionally following orders that destroyed their lives. Enlistment rates in combat units of those youngsters who came to Gush Katif to protest or whose families were expelled from their homes, however, were not affected.
Some of those young people became convinced that the peaceful, quiet protests that preceded the disengagement were a tactical mistake on the part of Yesha's leadership because the government ignored them, although hundreds of thousands of Israelis took to the streets against the disastrous move.