Rioters throw stones
Rioters throw stonesIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Local leaders responded angrily Sunday to a senior IDF commander’s claim that Yitzhar residents are increasing conflict in Samaria (Shomron). The town’s security team had its power to respond to violent incidents curtailed in response, and many team members had their weapons confiscated.

Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika said it is the IDF that has responded inappropriately to Palestinian Authority violence, by failing to fight it effectively.

“Senior commanders are acting as cowards in the face of Arab violence in Judea and Samaria,” he accused. “They tremble like a leaf over the extreme Left’s slander.”

“Their cowardly, toothless response to far-left and Arab riots in the Yitzhar area is what is leading to conflict,” Mesika continued. “These riots could have been nipped in the bud, but certain senior commanders are tough only when it comes to Yitzhar’s security force – the members of which risked their lives to prevent an infiltration and an arson attack on homes.”

The senior commander who detailed accusations against the Yitzhar team mentioned the case of a PA Arab man who was shot and wounded by the team, then beaten by local youth. The PA man had been carrying a knife, the commander noted, and had smashed his cell phone in an attempt to demolish it after being shot.

What the commander failed to mention, Mesika said, was that the phone was later revealed to have photos of the PA man armed with a gun, strengthening suspicions that he was planning a terrorist attack. “It is bizarre but unsurprising that the senior commander censored that fact,” he said.