JERUSALEM (JTA) — Demonstrators blocked highways and train routes in a "Day of Rage" called by Israeli settler leaders to protest the demolition of illegal structures at a West Bank outpost.
Some 15 demonstrators blocked the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway Thursday morning, kicking off what was billed as a day of protests against Monday’s demolition of structures at the Gilad Farm outpost in the northern West Bank. Burning tires reportedly also were placed on the highway, and several demonstrators blocked train tracks between Ben Gurion Airport and Modiin.
Later Thursday, about 50 activists blocked the road regularly used by both Jewish settlers and Palestinians between the Palestinian cities of Kalkilya and Nablus. Some protesters slashed the tires of a police car at the scene, leading to one arrest, Ynet reported.
Some 20 protesters were arrested blocking an intersection near Ben Gurion airport. Dozens of protesters also demonstrated near Hebron and near the settlement of Binyamin in the West Bank.
Following the razings at Gilad Farm, eight settlers were arrested and 15 wounded as the result of clashes with police. Later, hundreds of right-wing activists blocked roads in Jerusalem, leading to the arrests of some two dozen protesters.
In the West Bank, protesters blocked the entrance to Nablus but allowed through cars driven by Jews. Also, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at a Palestinian home in Hawara, near Nablus, burning a room in the house, and Palestinians from Burin accused settlers from Yitzhar of rolling burning tires toward the village in what are being called revenge attacks.
Settlers said that police used unnecessary force, including rubber bullets and tear gas, in the Gilad Farm evacuation. Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch acknowledged later that police, fearing for their safety, had used plastic bullets.
"The settlers outnumbered the security forces and encircled a small group of officers, posing a concrete threat on the force," Aharonovitch said Wednesday.
A soldier whose home was razed in the demolition, Shimon Weizman, was dismissed from the Kfir Brigade and sentenced to 30 days in prison on Wednesday after he said publicly that he would not return to military service until his outpost home is rebuilt.
On Wednesday night, Israeli soldiers arrested a Palestinian in possession of a weapon who allegedly was planning an attack on the Yitzhar settlement, Ynet reported.