The struggle is intensifying as for the first time on Monday
a uniformed soldier, who was not on active duty, called upon
his comrades not to obey their orders, and another soldier
fired his weapon into the air during incidents with
About 200 police officers, along with Border Police and
soldiers from the Paratroop Brigade, clashed with about the
same number of settlers who tried to block the security
forces and IDF bulldozers from entering Yitzhar and the
separate adjacent outpost.
The outpost, Shalhevet, also called Givat Lehava, is legal.
However, two months ago settlers brought in two trailers that
were not authorized, and the IDF issued an evacuation
As the IDF forces approached, the settlers poured oil on the
road leading to the settlement and parked their cars to block
the entrance to the community. Several army and police
vehicles were damaged.
Soldiers and settlers pushed and shoved each other, and
settlers also threw stones at the soldiers and hurled insults
at them. According to several reports, settlers called the
evacuating forces "Nazis." There were periodic pauses as
Colonel Yuval Bazak, commander of the Samaria Brigade,
attempted to negotiate with the settlers. When his efforts
failed, soldiers and police approached the trailers on foot
and destroyed them with hammers and axes instead of removing
them as originally planned.
One of those arrested during the clashes was an IDF soldier
who lives at Yitzhar. He was home from the army, but wore his
uniform when he joined the other settlers in disrupting the
evacuation. The soldier, Yossi Pilmet, apparently urged the
other soldiers to refuse to participate in the evacuation.
Army sources said that he will face disciplinary charges.
Police arrested him and he was to be brought to Military
Police where he faces a court martial. He is currently
serving in the standing army in Samaria.
After the incident, residents of Yitzhar issued a statement
demanding that the soldiers leave the area immediately. The
IDF responded that it was already planning to transfer the
soldiers from the post near Yitzhar to another base near the
nearby settlement of Itamar, due to the increasing friction
between settlers and soldiers at Yitzhar. The army said the
soldiers would be transferred within a week.
A few hours after the incident, a soldier fired in the air.
He said that he had seen a girl trying to puncture the tires
of an army vehicle and tried to stop her when he was jumped
by about 10 settlers, some of them armed, who tried to take
his weapon. One of the settlers pointed his weapon at him,
the soldier said, and others hit him; he therefore felt
threatened and fired to scare them off.
The settlers said that the girl was 12 years old, and when
the soldier pointed his weapon at her, a Yitzhar resident,
Ephraim Ben Shohat, jumped him. They said the soldier acted
violently and endangered their lives by opening fire. Yitzhar
Spokesman Yigal Amitai said that Ben Shohat acted correctly
and prevented a stupid mistake that could have turned into a
The soldier's commanders said that they believe his version
of the incident.
About two weeks ago, after soldiers attempted to prevent the
hookup of the mobile homes at Shalhevet to running water,
settlers turned off the water supply to the army post and
punctured the tires of the company commander.
According to a report in Ha'aretz, the Israel Defense
Forces' General Staff wants the legal establishment to start
cracking down on Israelis who use violence against soldiers
and policemen in the territories.
Police Monday night released all 15 of the settlers it
arrested during the clashes, including two minors, and they
have not yet decided if they will press charges.
Despite the efforts of the pro-settlement activists, an IDF
spokesman said that the whole incident took no more than
three hours. Previous evacuation attempts in which police and
soldiers faced as many as 1,000 resisters have been known to
take upwards of 12 hours.
The army had been very careful to keep its plans secret.
Settler activists constantly monitor the press and even most
police and IDF radio frequencies.
In other news, as we go to press there is no word if the
political deal that the UTJ politicians struck with the Likud
will be approved by the rabbonim.