Angry Jewish settlers blocked Arab cars for over an hour Thursday along a West Bank road that witnessed an attack on an Israeli army vehicle the day before.
Residents of Beit Haggai, just south of Hebron, stopped Arab drivers on the Hebron-Beersheba road where a soldier was seriously wounded Wednesday.
Eitan Michaelson was shot in the chest, shoulder and lung by attackers who followed him in a white Peugeot and fired 20 rounds from a Russian-made Kalachnikov rifle.
Doctors removed part of Michaelson’s left lung at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he was recovering Thursday. An officer with him, Tehila Davidi, suffered only scratches.
The settlers charged the government was neglecting the security of Jewish residents in the area. They ended their demonstration after harsh verbal exchanges with soldiers, and traffic returned to normal.
Michaelson’s life was saved by an unidentified Palestinian who has served in an Israeli prison for security offenses. The man was among the first to arrive at the scene and he offered his help. The wounded soldier at first refused, waiting for an Israel Defense Force reinforcement.
The Arab reassured him, telling him he was determined to save his life, and rushed him to Alia Hospital in Hebron, from where he was transferred to Jerusalem.
Doctors said the action saved Michaelson’s life.
The Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas phoned foreign news agencies Wednesday to claim responsibility for the attack.
It was the most serious of a number of assaults that took place Wednesday during a partial strike called in the administered territories by rejectionist front organizations that oppose the peace process. It coincided with the resumption of the peace talks in Washington.
In other incidents, a reserve soldier suffered a serious eye injury in a stoning attack in the town of Jenin, and two firebombs’ were thrown at an Israeli bus at the Yakir junction, a major intersection in Samaria. No damage or injuries were caused.