Dozens of Arab terrorists rioted for hours on Monday night on the main road leading through the town of Huwara in Samaria, the setting for three shooting attacks in the past few months, one of which was fatal in the cases of Hallel and Yagel Yaniv Hy"d.
Multiple Jewish-owned cars driving through Huwara in order to access their homes were targeted by Arabs throwing rocks. One driver, Yaakov, is a volunteer with United Hatzalah who lives in the area and was making his way to the Tapuah Junction when he found himself under attack. Dozens of rioters surrounded his vehicle and began to hurl rocks at the car. One hit the windshield, which shattered.
Yaakov was forced to stop his car. He reported the attack to security forces and then documented it on his phone. "Just got hit by a rock in Huwara," he wrote in the caption to a video taken mere seconds after the rock hit his car. Shards of glass can be seen all around.
But that was just the beginning. Another Jewish family passing through Huwara a few minutes later on their way to a family wedding found themselves surrounded by Arabs. "Dozens of Arabs blocked our path and started throwing rocks, pieces of scrap metal, and other objects at us," the mother related. "We were hit on all sides. It was a miracle that no one was injured."
IDF soldiers were summoned to the scene but failed to bring the rioters under control. Meanwhile, additional Jewish-owned cars were being pelted with rocks, causing a considerable amount of damage. The drivers started to make their own attempts to drive the Arabs away, and began calling Jewish residents from nearby communities asking them to come and help.
The entire incident unfolded just meters away from where Hallel and Yagel Yaniv were gunned down by an Arab terrorist a month ago, and where David Stern was shot and wounded a few weeks ago. According to multiple eyewitness accounts, IDF soldiers called to the scene stood to the side of the road, near to where the Arab rioters had gathered, and did nothing to stop them from throwing rocks and then violently confronting the Jewish drivers.
Worse still, instead of taking determined action to disperse the rioters, soldiers instead used violence against the Jews under attack, beating anyone who arrived on the scene to help. Yaakov, whose windshield had been shattered, now found himself handcuffed and thrown into a police car.
Other Jews driving through who stopped to see if they could offer assistance also found themselves under attack by special forces officers (Yassam) who had been dispatched to the scene. One Yassam officer took his helmet and smashed it into the face of a 40-year-old father of five from Yitzhar, breaking his nose. Another Jew was knocked to the ground and surrounded by police who began punching him before dragging him to another police car. Only later was he taken to Beilinson Hospital for medical treatment, still handcuffed and accompanied by police officers. Three other Jews were also arrested.
"It's just unbelievable," one eyewitness said. "You're driving through Huwara and someone throws a rock at your car - and all the soldiers care about is making sure you keep driving, even though all around you, other cars are getting pelted with rocks as well. What are we supposed to do? How can we live like this? And not only that - they're arresting us too. What's going on here? It's just impossible to describe the insanity. The security system has entirely collapsed."
As the incident unfolded, additional Jewish residents of Samaria arrived at the scene and demanded that the IDF stop the rioters. As pressure mounted on them to do something, a few soldiers arrested a number of Arab youths and put them on the street corner for a few minutes, promising the Jews that they would be "dealt with severely." Just hours later, a local Arab Facebook account was reporting that the youths had been released.
Attorney Assaf Gonen of the Honenu rights organization spent the night in the local police station with the Jewish detainees. "Time after time, innocent Jews driving through Huwara are brutally attacked by rioters and are then themselves arrested and have their detention extended when they are brought before a court. Meanwhile, Israel Police as well as the relevant authorities are doing nothing to stop the rioters and restore order," he said.