Jewish Settlers Arrested for Assaulting Palestinians
JERUSALEM (AP) _ Police arrested four Jewish settlers early today for assaulting Palestinians, officials said.
Settlers pelted the officers with stones when they entered the West Bank settlement of Yitshar, and three were arrested for assaulting police. The settlers accused the police of beating residents and refusing to show warrants or explain the arrests.
Police spokesman Boaz Goldberg said the four settlers were wanted for ``rioting and breaches of the peace against Arab residents.″ He refused to give details, but said they will be brought to court later this week.
A resident of the nearby Palestinian village of Burin said settlers from Yitshar burned the village school two weeks ago. Amar Ismail told The Associated Press that settlers also had burned a clinic and an electric generator in Burin and thrown stones at villagers.
``In the past few weeks they have imposed a siege on the village,″ Ismail said. ``It was clear they wanted us to leave the village so they can settle there.″
Yitshar resident Rivka Bernstein told Israel Radio that police had burst into homes in the settlement without search warrants, waking up residents and pointing guns at suspects.
``Some were without name-tags, or even uniforms,″ she said. ``It was the ones in civilian clothes who beat (residents). They refused to give their names. They punched without cause.″
But Chief Superintendant Dudu Peretz told Israel Radio that the officers had warrants and knocked on the suspects’ doors before entering.
``We all gave our names when asked,″ he said. ``We reacted to violence on their part. When someone resisted arrest we used reasonable force to bring him to the vehicle. The entire settlement descended on us.″
Peretz said two officers were slightly injured by stones.
Relations between the police and West Bank settlers have deteriorated in recent weeks, as settlers and their supporters have held a series of demonstrations, blocking roads and causing huge traffic jams.
Yitshar is in the northern West Bank, near the Palestinian city of Nablus.