A video that was released to Youtube shows IDF soldiers running for cover as an Arab mob pelts them with stones and bricks. The soldiers are equipped with weapons, but they do not use them – and instead flee from a mob of Arab youths and adults, brandishing not their guns, but shields to protect them from the stones thrown by the mob.
The incident in the video took place in recent days in Shechem. Three IDF soldiers were injured in the incident, with one sustaining an injury to his hand, and another a wound to his head. A third soldier was injured when a smoke grenade he was about to throw blew up in his hand. The three were being treated at a hospital in Petach Tikvah.
The incident was similar to another one that took place in Hevron last week, when IDF soldiers battled Palestinian Authority police and rioting Arabs. IDF officials said they considered the incident “serious,” and that an investigation had been opened.
Officials said that the level of Arab rioting in Judea and Samaria has climbed significantly since Operation Pillar of Defense ended, and that there were more reports of rock throwing and other terror incidents. Officials said that they had also been prepared for an increase in violence after last week's UN General Assembly vote raising the status of the PA in the world body. Many of the rioters are new Hamas sympathizers, the officials said, who have become supporters of the terror group in the wake of Operation Pillar of Defense.
Commenting on the Shechem video, the IDF said that the incident was being investigated. “This riot occurred during an illegal gathering last Friday in Kaddum, one of the most violent towns in Judea and Samaria. In the wake of the riot the IDF has updated its instructions for riot control by soldiers, using select, but moral, means to dispel riots but without using excessive force."
Viewers of the video expressed shock at the images, and many demanded that the IDF adjust its policies to enable soldiers to respond more effectively to situations like the one portrayed. "The government's policies are putting our boys to shame," said a parent of one of the soldiers involved in the incident. Commenting on the video, one viewer said that "the government is playing with fire. There is only so much patience that these soldiers can have in the fact of provocations like this. When a soldier picks up his weapon to defend himself and the hand-wringers all of the sudden as 'why,' they can watch this video to get their answer."