Soldiers Clash With Residents

The feud between the IDF and pro-Land of Israel forces deteriorated further on Friday. Residents say soldiers broke into at least one private home, hit citizens and arrested them for no reason.

, | updated: 09:50

Residents of the Shomron (Samaria) community of Har Brachah also accuse the IDF spokesman of lying that a paratrooper had been injured in a clash with residents.

On Friday, the IDF Spokesman's Office issued a photograph of young mothers and children blocking a road, with the following caption: "On Friday, April 29, an IDF officer was lightly wounded during a joint pursuit with Israel Police of settlers who threw rocks at Palestinian trucks near the community of Har Brachah in the Shomron. During the chase, settlers began clashing with the security forces and disrupted them in their work. In the photo: women settlers block the ascent road to Har Brachah."

"We accuse the army of cooking up this libel," stated a letter from Har Brachah residents afterwards, "in order to divert public opinion from the grave violent and illegal behavior of the police and army, which led to the wounding of two citizens."

The residents also noted that three of the five residents who were arrested during the fracas were released last night without being charged, while a fourth one refuses to be released until the fifth one - whose custody was extended this morning by 24 hours - is freed.

The incident occurred on Friday when soldiers claimed that two youths threw stones at Arab cars. The soldiers ran after the youths, and summoned police reinforcements for the purpose. The soldiers then said they saw the youths succeed in leaving the town by car. In response, the residents wrote, "the army then embarked on a vengeance campaign against [us]. Incited by officer Guy Hazut [the one who claimed to be hurt - ed.], soldiers broke into houses, hit citizens who had nothing to do with the incident and did not even know about it, and arrested them amidst great violence. Two citizens were hurt in the course of these arrests, and required medical treatment."

The army claimed that the person they were seeking had been in telephone contact with the boy suspected of throwing the rocks.

Yaakov Ideles of Har Brachah told Arutz-7, "One of the boys involved in the alleged stone-throwing went into a house in a small hilltop outpost just outside Har Brachah, and while the soldiers were trying to decide whether to break in or not, he ran out, and then Guy Hazut ran after him and was stopped by the short light aluminum gate of the house... He claimed he was hurt, but he continued running around for two hours afterwards..."

An investigation following the event showed that the IDF officer in question lied about his physical condition, and that when he arrived at the hospital, he was immediately released. Residents of Har Brachah say they have photos and eyewitness testimony showing that long after the time Guy Hazut claims he was "wounded," he continued wildly hitting and kicking the residents.

Ideles continued, "Hazut was a bit peeved that the boy had run away, and so he decided to arrest all the residents of the hilltop for harboring the boy or something like that. Hazut or his soldiers broke into one of the houses through a window, and brutally hit and kicked the father, and in front of his baby children and wife, tied his feet and hands and blindfolded him, as if he were the worst criminal..."

The residents wrote, "The army and police have apparently received orders and adopted a policy that everyone who wears a kippah [Jewish skullcap] is a delinquent and a legitimate target for illegal, shameless and violent harassment. For years, we in the Shomron have been suffering from incessant stonings by Arabs. The army and police say they cannot deal with this phenomenon, despite the heavy damage and great danger. But suddenly we see that when they want to, they can act firmly and quickly against this phenomenon - especially against innocent citizens who had nothing to do with it."