Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert criticized settler violence the day after a Jewish boy’s stabbing touched off anti-Palestinian riots.
On Saturday morning a Palestinian entered the West Bank community of Yitzhar and entered two homes, setting fire to one, before stabbing a 9-year-old boy five times and fleeing back to nearby village of Asira al-Kabaliya. Two hours later, Yitzhar residents entered the village and began a rampage that included shooting live ammunition, smashing windows of homes and overturning a car, according to reports. At least six Palestinians were injured.
“In Israel there will not be pogroms against non-Jewish residents,” Olmert said Sunday at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting. “We have law enforcement authorities. We have police. We have security services. First and foremost, we have a military that knows how to deal with incidents in which Jews are attacked and to fight terrorists, and it will not lend a hand to those who take the law into their hands and attack innocents as was done over the weekend in the gravest manner.”
Yitzhar residents told Ynet that Palestinians had set fire to their wheat fields seven times in recent months.
Israeli media focused Sunday on the rise in settler violence.
On Sept. 10, West Bank residents attacked civil administration officials who went to the Yad Yair outpost to confiscate construction equipment, and soldiers clashed with Yitzhar residents who were throwing stones at Palestinian cars. That same day, apparent West Bank residents entered an Israeli army position near Ramallah and attacked reserve soldiers.
“This phenomenon of taking the law into one’s hands, of violent disturbances, of brutality by Jewish elements living in communities in Judea and Samaria, whether in recognized communities or in illegal outposts, is intolerable and will be dealt with sharply and harshly by the law enforcement authorities of the State of Israel,” Olmert told the Cabinet Sunday.