Early this morning, Israeli security forces and Jewish residents clashed in the West Bank settlement of Havat Gilad. Police and Civil Administration officials arrived at the community near Yitzhar at 4:30 in the morning to tear down a number of unauthorized structures. During the confrontation that ensued, settlers threw rocks and police fired rubber bullets and tear gas. 15 people were injured and 8 were arrested.
Although such clashes are not commonplace, they are becoming seemingly more frequent. This battle between settlers to ensure the permanence of their outlying communities and of the police and military to contain unauthorized settlement growth has, in recent years, drawn more attention, particularly as security incidents between Israeli forces and West Bank Palestinians have become less frequent and less violent. Incidents have largely centered on the dismantling of settlements and bulldozing of homes, synagogues, and yeshivot, but have also included Jewish rebuilding of destroyed buildings, planting on state lands, and even attacks on Jewish hikers.