IDF sources say the group deliberately instigated a fight with settlers in the South Hebron Hills on the Jewish Sabbath.
By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News
A group of six activists from a left-wing organization who came to the religious outpost of Mitzpe Yair on Saturday to photograph what they said was illegal construction got into a fight with some residents and were evacuated by the IDF, which blamed the visitors for the incident.
“This morning, a number of activists from the Ta’ayush organization came to an area where illegal Palestinian construction is taking place near Mitzpe Yair, in the Judean region,” the army’s statement read. “After the construction tools were confiscated [by the authorities], the activists moved toward the village in order to instigate a provocation, and some friction developed between them and the residents. IDF soldiers in the area declared the area a closed military zone to prevent further friction, but some of the activists refused to evacuate and violated the order.”
In the fight that ensued, four of the instigators were lightly injured. The IDF took them to the Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva, where they were treated and released.
The activists claim that the army spokesman was lying about the declaration of the area being a closed military zone, adding that they had entered the construction site only and not the community itself, did not instigate any violence and that in addition to being hit, their cameras were stolen.
Mount Hebron Regional Council head Yochai Damri defended the community members Saturday night, Arutz 7 reported.
‘They wanted to create headlines’
Calling Ta’ayush an “anarchist” organization that supported the illegal Palestinian attempts to take over state land, he charged that the activists “chose in response to disturb the Shabbat peace of the residents of Mitzpeh Yair, invading private homes, photographing them and violating a closed military zone order in order to create a provocation. Every healthy person who has people bursting into his home would act to protect his home and his family and remove the invading criminals,” he said.
He also claimed that he checked with Soroka hospital and found that that the activists had just pretended to be hurt so that army personnel would evacuate them instead of arresting them.
“They wanted to create headlines,” he stated. “We again call upon the IDF and the police to issue an order to distance the group from the area. Their presence causes violations of the law and harm to our communities. Every community they come to suffers from burglaries and thefts and massive illegal construction by the Arabs around them. The time has come to put an end to this, once and for all,” Damri stated.