Governor Dagan near the scene of the attack
Governor Dagan near the scene of the attackSamaria Regional Council

An IDF soldier on vacation shot a 40-year-old Palestinian Authority Arab on Shabbat (the Sabbath) after the soldier and his family were attacked near the town of Rehelim in Samaria.

An IDF spokesperson stated that, "Violent altercations developed between a number of Palestinians and Israeli citizens near the settlement of Rehelim in the Samaria region. A Palestinian was reported killed in the incident. The IDF forces and the Israel Police rushed to the area upon receiving the report. The clash dispersed before their arrival. After a preliminary investigation, it appears that an IDF soldier on leave took part in the incident. An investigation has been opened to clarify the case."

Unusually, the Samaria Regional Council published a statement on Shabbat, explaining: "Palestinians carried out an olive harvest without coordination with the army as required every year in the fall and in this instance, next to the fence of the town of Rehelim. A family from the settlement was passing by and was attacked by the Palestinians. A member of the family, who is an IDF soldier, fired a warning shot in their direction and immediately reported the incident to his commanders. The Palestinian injured by the shot was found holding a large stone."

Samaria leader Yossi Dagan, said, "With the special approval of the rabbi of Samaria, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, we published a message despite the fact that it was Shabbat, to counter the fake news about the incident near Rehelim."

"It is about a family that was attacked near their orchard by dozens of Hamasniks - I fully support the soldier who fired." He added that "the olive harvest serves as a starting point for terrorism. They would not have allowed the Hamasniks to harvest olives 300 meters from the Israeli town of Be'eri."

According to Dagan, "The rioters from the nearby village of As-Sawiya attacked the family members with stones and rocks and endangered their lives. One of the family members, an IDF soldier stationed at the northern border who was on leave, fired defensive shots into the air, then towards the attackers' feet, reported this to his commander immediately, and saved his family members from the shower of stones and rocks. According to the rioters' later claim, one of the rioters was hit and killed."

Dagan demanded that this year, there should be an "immediate cessation of the harvest near the settlements in Judea and Samaria, which is used as a platform to unleash terrorism. From the footage on Facebook uploaded by Hamas members, the wounded terrorist is seen lying on the floor immediately after the shooting, with a large stone next to his hand, and in the video another terrorist is seen immediately arriving to treat him, also carrying a stone."

Social media from several Samaria towns has called for various actions against the Arab olive harvest, including for residents to physically block the way to olive orchards, to harvest the olives on Palestinian-owned trees themselves, and to spray noxious substances on the olives to make them unusable. Several towns have delivered ultimatums to the IDF stating their intentions to cause violent altercations if the harvest is allowed to continue. IDF forces have, in some instances, announced that they will require harvesters to remain farther away from the towns to prevent friction with Israeli residents.