Hundreds of angered Israeli settlers gathered in the Nablus region Monday, prompting road closures to prevent attacks on Palestinian drivers on the Nablus-Qalqiliya road, and the Jit-Flefleh road.
The closures stopped movement between dozens of villages, and the nearby city centers and followed the dismantling of two buildings in an illegal Jewish-only outpost near the Havat Gilad settlement.
Clashes erupted between settlers and police, a police spokesman said, “when employees of the (military) administration came to dismantle illegal construction and were met with stone-throwing by the residents of Havat Gilad.”
Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that eight settlers were arrested by police who were at the scene to protect officials trying to demolish the cabin and the foundations of several other illegal buildings.
Five of the settlers were arrested for possession of knives and spikes they used to puncture the tires of security forces vehciles, Rosenfeld said.
Settlers at Havat Gilad told AFP that five had been injured by rubber bullets, but the police denied that they had used the anti-riot dispersal means during the confrontation.
Havat Gilad is home to about 20 settler families and religious school students.
Anti-settlement movement Peace Now says there are more than 100 wildcat outposts strewn across the West Bank, all of which have been set up without permission from Israeli authorities.
Ghassan Doughlas, Fatah official charged with monitoring settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that Palestinian cars were banned from using the roads nearby the settler clashes.
Informed sources said that hundreds of Israeli troops remained around the settlement in an effort to contain expected violence.
Doughlas said a warning had been issued to Palestinians to avoid areas where settlers gather for their own safety.
Officials fear settler violence against Palestinians, under the professed “price tag” policy, launched in 2008 by extreme right-wing Zionist Israeli groups in the West Bank.
Under the policy, settlers “exact a price” for each evacuation of outposts by harming Palestinians. In the past, the “price tag” has included arson, shootings, beatings, burning fields, uprooting trees and poisoning water wells belonging to Palestinians.