Residents of Yitzhar in Samaria foiled a clumsy attempt by Israeli police to ambush their town while disguised as IDF soldiers on Wednesday. The officers were concealed in an army jeep to conduct surveillance and arrests in the community.
Around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, the IDF jeep was found standing in the middle of a road leading to the center of the town. Residents approached the vehicle to find out what was going on. As they neared, two "soldiers" exited the jeep and opened the hood, in a weak attempt to pretend they had broken down. It soon became clear to residents they had busted a sting operation.
Video of the incident, uploaded by Hakol Hayehudi, can be seen here:
Upon closer inspection, residents realized the soldiers were suspicious; generally soldiers in surveillance units using that particular type of jeep are 18 to 21-year-olds doing their mandatory service. The two "soldiers" were in their 30s, had no weapons or combat vests, were dressed sloppily and were not wearing army boots. A final straw - the shape of pistols could be made out under their shirts.
After realizing they were dealing with fake soldiers, residents inspected the jeep, only to find a GoPro mobile camera affixed to the window. One resident reported that Yassam police special forces had also placed a camera on the road above where the jeep was standing, filming it.
Once they became aware of what was happening, residents began gathering around the jeep, singing songs and taunting the officers over their failed ambush.
The police officers, realizing their failure, made calls on their cell phones, and shortly thereafter Yassam vehicles arrived, leading the jeep out of the community. As the vehicles arrived, residents realized they had been waiting just outside the town to spring into motion.
As the fake IDF soldiers get back in their car to leave, the cameraman in the video can be heard asking "why don't you do something like this in Hawara, for example? It's a great idea, don't you think? Maybe catch Arabs who throw rocks at Jews all day. You guys ever thought of that, does it sound logical to you?"
The reference to Hawara comes after last Tuesday dozens of Arab terrorists threw rocks at Israeli cars and burned tires on the road by the Arab town, located near Tapuah Junction in Samaria.
Arab terrorists near Hawara threw two firebombs at a Border Police jeep in April. No one was reported hurt, even though the firebombs struck the vehicle and exploded. In searching for the perpetrators, one soldier identified a terrorist with another fire bomb in his hand. When the terrorist refused to desist from lighting the bomb, the soldier fired at his lower extremities, injuring him before he was taken for treatment by IDF medics and then taken to a hospital.
A night before extending the occupation of Yitzhar Yeshiva
Yitzhar residents estimate that the incident with the fake soldiers was an attempt to instigate tension with the town, so as to raise public consensus for Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's decision on Thursday to extend the IDF seizure of Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in Yitzhar by three months.
Attorney Adi Kedar of the Honenu legal aid organization responded to the ambush incident, slamming it as entrapment.
"Unfortunately the Judea and Samaria Regional Police don't learn from past mistakes, and continue to conduct provocations against Jewish settlers for the goal of getting them arrested," remarked Kedar.
The attorney continued "these are invalid actions which courts have criticized in the past. We are happy that the incident ended the way it did, and without empty arrests of residents as seen in other incidents."
For their part, the IDF and the police responded saying "security forces are active in Judea and Samaria to keep the law and order. Naturally we will not specify the details of those activities."
Ya'alon "tried to give the newspapers a good story"
Those activities included the extended seizure of the Yitzhar yeshiva as mentioned, a decision which enraged a source from the town, who decried Ya'alon's statements to Arutz Sheva.
"It's a shame and disgrace that a senior Likud member speaks like this; the ones calming things are the residents who set a red line on harming soldiers and policemen," said the source.
The source accused Ya'alon of trying "to provide weekend newspapers good content to write about. His saying 'price tag' is a 'type of terror' is simply infuriating, apparently Ya'alon forgot the terrorists going wild in the Arab villages in Judea and Samaria."
In his statements announcing the extended seizure, Ya'alon had said "we will not slacken, and will act with a strong arm against criminal terrorists who act against IDF soldiers, police and innocent Palestinians, and therefore I followed the recommendation of security sources to extend the seizure order on the yeshiva."