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Jewish 'terrorists' attack Israeli base on the West Bank

By Michal Zippori, CNN
updated 2:34 PM EST, Wed December 14, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Netanyahu: "No person can raise his hand against IDF soldiers and police"
  • Israel's prime minister decries the attack
  • Plans to dismantle two illegal outposts may have sparked the violence
  • Seventeen right-wing extremists arrested in second incident

Jerusalem (CNN) -- In an attack Tuesday -- which an Israeli official termed an act of Jewish terrorism -- around 50 right-wing Israeli extremists infiltrated and attacked the Ephraim Regional Division Headquarters, an Israel Defense Forces military base in the West Bank.

The activists entered the base, damaged property, set tires on fire, threw stones and damaged vehicles according to a statement released by the IDF.

The right-wing extremists also tried to attack the commander of the area, Col. Ran Kahana, by throwing stones at his vehicle.

IDF and police forces arrived at the location and expelled the activists from the base, police said. Israel police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told CNN that two people were arrested. He said police will continue to investigate the incident and further arrests will be made.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the security forces to act forcefully against the what he called rioters. In a statement released by his office Netnayahu said, "This incident deserves full condemnation. The security forces need to concentrate on defending its citizens and not on outrageous law breaking incidents."

Speaking later Tuesday at a public event, Netanyahu said the attack "crossed all lines."

"I intend to fight this phenomenon with all the force available to me as prime minister of Israel," Netanyahu said. "No person can raise his hand against IDF soldiers and police."

According to reports in the Israeli press, the attack came in response to rumors that Israeli security forces were about to demolish two illegal outposts in the West Bank -- Mitzpe Yitzhar and Ramat Gilad. Peace Now, a settlement watchdog, petitioned the Israeli High court regarding six illegal settlements erected in the West Bank.

The State of Israel responded to the petition saying the outposts that were built on state land will be legalized and the ones built on private land will be dismantled by the state by the end of 2011. Both Mitzpe Yitzhar and Ramat Gilad were built on private land and are therefore slated to be demolished.

There was widespread condemnation of the attack by Israeli politicians, settler leaders and West Bank rabbis. Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai called the attackers "Jewish terrorists" in an interview with Army radio, and Yesha Council Settlements Chairman Dani Dayan told CNN that " the incident was a shameful and ingrateful act that should not have happened."

He added the perpetrators should be arrested and brought to justice. He also telephoned the Israeli commander who was attacked. Dayan condemned the violent acts and voiced his appreciation for the service that commander and his soldiers do in the area.

In a separate incident around 50 right-wing activists arrived Monday night at the closed military area on the Israeli Jordanian border. They cut the security fence and occupied a structure near the Qasr el Yahud baptism site.

Israeli security forces arrived at the scene and confronted the activists. Seventeen people were arrested and taken to a nearby police compound, according to an Israeli police spokesman, who said that the activists were demonstrating against a decision taken by the Jerusalem municipality on Sunday to close the Mughrabi ramp which is the only entrance through which Jews can access the Temple Mount.

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