Large numbers of IDF troops and border police descended on the community of Yitzhar overnight Wednesday and destroyed several buildings in a new section of the town, called Haseruga. The government contends that the section is an illegal outpost. The section was established about six months ago, after several attempts to build a community there were thwarted.
A spokesperson for Yitzhar said that police acted in a brutal and vicious manner, tying up the security guard of the town and confiscating his cellphone – so he could not alert residents to the raid, which took place at 3:30 AM. Roads into and out of Yitzhar were blocked, and several residents who were returning home at that late hour were forced to walk to their homes, abandoning their cars on the highway, because police would not let them through. Residents who heard noises and shouting called the local security group, and were told that the town was part of a late-night security drill.
Several young people who were in the buildings were arrested, and their cellphones were confiscated as well, so they could not alert activists that the buildings were being destroyed. Photographers who tried to reach the site to record the destruction and violence were intimidated by police; one photographer was reportedly beaten over the head numerous times by a police officer. His camera was confiscated and the digital images on them erased.
The army claims that residents threw rocks at the soldiers and border police who were fulfilling their orders, and tried to block the forces by burning tires on the road. Police said that several residents were seen running in the direction of an Arab village next to Yitzhar, although there were no reports of unrest or incidents in the area.
Residents said that they had already made preparations to rebuild the destroyed structures. “There is no doubt that we will rebuild the structures, but to rebuild the formerly warm relationship we had with the IDF, which has been ruined because of this action, will take time,” one resident told Arutz Sheva.