Confrontations Continue in Judea and Samaria

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BEIT ARYEH, Israel - Confrontations between government inspectors and residents of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria continued on Wednesday morning.

Trouble erupted in a number of Jewish communities this week over the government's decision last week to freeze new building starts in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) as a measure to coax Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

In remarks to an economics forum on Tuesday evening, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sought to soothe the public by declaring the building freeze a "one-time and temporary decision," which was taken on behalf of "the widest national interests."

"This is a one-time and temporary decision just as was written in the Security Cabinet decision and just as I have made clear in both public and private meetings," the prime minister said.

"We will go back to building at the end of the suspension," Netanyahu said.

But meanwhile confrontations between residents and government inspectors sent to halt the building continued.

Beit Aryeh Mayor Arrested

In the community of Beit Aryeh in Samaria, residents confronted IDF security forces and Border Police accompanying Civil Administration inspectors. Police arrested Mayor Avi Naim, who also serves as head of the Beit Aryeh Regional Council, for allegedly disrupting an officer's work. 

Beit Aryeh, founded by 60 families in 1981, is located 15 miles east of Tel Aviv and is not thought of as a religious community.

"The soldiers came with a purpose," said Naim, who was injured in the fray. "Their plan was to arrest the council head as a lesson for all to see. After failing yesterday, they arrived with reinforcements today - dozens of Border Guard and police officers," he said from his hospital bed.

"I didn't do anything and they just threw me into a jeep. They treated me like a criminal when all I did was to come and talk to them," he said.

"The worst thing was that when I was in the ambulance and the paramedics wanted to transfer me to the hospital quickly, the police delayed me," Naim said.

"Only when I got the council's legal advisor involved, they agreed to evacuate me. It was a real life-threatening situation," he said.

'A Massive Assault'

A security guard from Beit Aryeh, who sustained a leg injury in the clashes, was hospitalized at Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikveh.

"It was a massive assault. I don't understand why," he said. "They attacked the council head and I arrived to tell them to stop, tried to talk to them without provoking them, but they shoved me. I fell on the floor. I cried for help, but none of the cops tried to help me. I was unconscious for a few seconds," he said.

"I work with these guys on a daily basis, but this time they acted like animals," he said. "The only explanation I can find is that they received an 'at any cost' instruction" he said.

"There was a major there, in uniform, who ordered them to act brutally and incited them," he said.

Elon Moreh, Shiloh, Har Bracha 

At Elon Moreh, security forces removed residents blocking the road, allowing inspectors to enter, confiscate building material and distribute stop-work orders.

"The residents were organized and sat on the road near the gate," said local resident Benny Katzover.

"They evacuated the people, threw them out and entered the community. There is a construction site here, but they didn't go there. Instead, they gave the order to a person building two guest houses and left," he said.

Residents of Shiloh were similarly prepared, blocking entry to nonresidents of the town.

'Only our Friends'

"Only our friends are allowed to enter," said Yona Tzoref, 61, who has lived in the town for more than 30 years.

"I am here to keep guard," Tzoref said. "It's my right not to let the inspectors enter. No law has been violated, like in the Gush Katif expulsion," she said, adding that "I only let whoever I want in - just like I decide who to let into my house," Tzoref said.

In the nearby community of Har Bracha, IDF Border Police arrested some of the residents blocking the access road and the Brachah junction.

On Wednesday, the Government Press Office issued a partial listing of the 90 communities where stop-work orders were handed out and building material confiscated, under the directive of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, since Monday.

Spokesman Maj. Guy Inbar, coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, told CBN News the list of communities was published for purposes of "transparency."

Ynet news and israel national news contributed to this article.

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Tzippe Barrow

Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Internet Producer - Jerusalem

From her perch high atop the mountains surrounding Jerusalem, Tzippe Barrow helps provide a bird’s eye view of events unfolding in her country.

She and her husband made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) several years ago. Barrow hopes that providing a biblical perspective of today’s events in Israel will help people in the nations to better understand the centrality of this state and the Jewish people to God’s unfolding plan of redemption for all mankind.