Settlers protest outpost home demolition

JERUSALEM (JTA) – Hundreds of Jewish settlers rallied at major junctions in the West Bank to protest the demolition of an outpost home built during the construction freeze. 

The demolition Monday came a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would not extend the West Bank building freeze.

Jewish settlers and Palestinians squared off Monday after a caravan home and a goat pen in the Givat Ronen outpost near the settlement of Har Bracha were demolished for violating Israel’s 10-month building freeze. Four settlers were injured by rocks thrown at them by Palestinians, according to Haaretz. Two Palestinians also were injured.

Settlers reportedly set a Palestinian field on fire south of Nablus in response, according to reports.

The residents of the demolished home and other settlers present during the demolition told Israeli media that security forces on the scene used excessive force.

On Monday evening, Jewish settlers and their supporters gathered at about 15 major road junctions to protest the demolitions. In some places the protesters blocked the roads and Boarder Guard officers reportedly removed them by force.

Border Guard officers told Ynet that they were attacked by settlers, who kicked and punched them, prompting one of the guards to use a stun grenade. Settlers again charged that the police used excessive force.

On Sunday, Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that he did not intend to extend the freeze, which is set to expire at the end of September. Netanyahu said the freeze was put into place to encourage the Palestinians to enter direct peace negotiations with Israel, since "the slowdown was limited in time. It has not changed and that’s how it will be."

Meanwhile, a unit of army reservists thwarted a terrorist attack Sunday night in the West Bank southeast of Nablus, the Israeli military said. The force discovered five Palestinians lying in wait at the side of the road to ambush the unit or passing settlers and surprised them. The Palestinians were carrying two homemade handguns, knives and Molotov cocktails, according to the Israeli military.
 

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