PA Arabs Attack, Israelis' Weapons Confiscated
Security forces in the Samaria (Shomron) town of Yitzhar were recently involved in violent clashes with Palestinian Authority Arabs, a senior IDF commander said.
In at least one case, the security team managed to prevent an attack. Despite that, the team has been punished for its allegedly heavy-handed response by having its responsibilities scaled back and its weapons confiscated.
The commander described two of the incidents that led to the punishment. As background, he noted that there has been a rash of arson attacks in the area lately – most of them carried out by Palestinian Authority Arabs, but some carried out by Israelis. He warned that the proposed demolition of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El is expected to increase violence.
Two weeks ago, he said, some young residents of Yitzhar clashed with nearby PA Arabs following a PA attack in the area. “When the army reached the area one of the security force members fired toward a Palestinian and wounded him in his face, saying the Palestinian had threatened him,” he reported.
The incident is under police investigation, and it has not yet been determined whether or not the man acted appropriately.
More recently, the security team responded to a clash between local Jews and PA Arabs from a nearby town. The Israeli youth pointed out a PA Arab man hidden behind a rock, shouting, “He’s armed, he’s armed.” Security team members responded by opening fire, hitting the PA man in the stomach.
The PA man turned out to have been carrying a large knife. In the moments after he was wounded he took out his mobile phone and smashed it, leading to suspicion that he had been plotting an attack and was attempting to destroy evidence.
Youth from Yitzhar bound the wounded man and hit him. “It was a miracle that the IDF arrived,” the IDF commander related. “They removed the young men, who could have done the Palestinian serious harm.”
Police are investigating the second incident as well. In the meantime, the security team has been ordered to respond to incidents only within Yitzhar itself, and to stay away from clashes between Israelis and PA Arabs outside the town borders – even though the team is often able to respond more quickly than the IDF.