Hilltop Jewish youth attack border police, one officer wounded

Masked hilltop youth throw rocks and bottles of paint at border police force, slash police vehicle tires.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Dozens of masked youth threw rocks and bottles of paint at an Israeli Border Police force that was providing protection for the dismantling of three illegal wooden structures, police said Wednesday.

The border police were backing up Civil Administration workers enforcing a demolition order on the structures near the settlement of Yitzhar that had been built without a permit.

“Dozens of masked men attacked the Border Police forces operating near the town of Yitzhar with stones and bottles of paint,” police said on their Twitter account.

“A Border Policewoman was lightly wounded as a result of a rock. The rioters also punctured a number of tires of border police vehicles,” police said.

Additional forces were brought to the scene to disperse the rioters and the incident was brought under control, although there were no reports of any arrests.

About two months ago, two Border Police officers were lightly wounded in clashes with about 30 young people on Kippah Sruga Hill near Yitzhar, some 40 kilometers (24 miles) north of Jerusalem in the hills of Samaria.

The area is known as a hotbed for extreme right-wing settler youth who, several times in the past, have attacked Israeli Police and IDF forces.

Known as the “hilltop youth,” the activists have established several illegal outposts with makeshift structures or mobile caravans and are also known for clashing with local Palestinians. Local settler leaders have repeatedly condemned the violence of the youth, which has also extended to attacking Magen David Adom ambulances.

Opposition left-wing Meretz Party leader Nitsan Horowitz said the youth carry out the attacks “because they have political backing and infrastructure that supports them and all their ‘illegal’ outposts. This backup goes all the way up.”

“Without the backing, without the wink of the eye and the actual encouragement, this phenomenon would not have existed,” Horowitz tweeted.

Right-wing opposition Yemina faction member Bezalel Smotrich condemned the “terrible and horrible thing of throwing stones at soldiers and policemen,” tweeting that “a bunch of irresponsible young people” were putting a stain on the entire settlement movement. 

Smotrich said he was frustrated that the youth were diverting attention from attacks on police by other groups, citing an incident last month in which he accused Israeli Druze protestors of “almost lynching” a policeman.