Israel bars Jewish extremists from West Bank for hate crimes
JERUSALEM - Twelve Jewish extremists suspected of hate crimes against Palestinians and attacks on the army have been temporarily barred from entering the West Bank, Israeli police and the army said Thursday.
The restraining orders were issued following months of so-called "price tag" attacks on mosques and other Palestinian property, which in recent months have also been directed at the army, angering the Israeli leadership.
The orders, which were signed off by a top West Bank military commander, were delivered by police late on Wednesday "to 12 activists for periods ranging from three months to nine months," an army statement said.
The step was taken following a recommendation by the Israel Security Agency (ISA), better known as the Shin Bet internal security services.
According to ISA information, "the group of extremists has been involved in leading, directing and executing violent and clandestine activity targeting Palestinian residents of Judaea and Samaria (the West Bank) and security forces operating in the area, therefore endangering lives and disrupting public order," it said.
"It should be noted that the issuing of these orders derives from a specific security necessity, and after exhausting all other alternatives. These orders are a preventative measure to remove the threat by the activists in the area."
Police said the 12 were living in the settlements of Yitzhar and Elon Moreh, while others were residents of the wildcat outposts of Havat Gilad, Havat Migron and Maoz Esther, all of which are in the northern West Bank.
Hardline Jewish extremists have adopted what they call a "price tag" policy, under which they attack mainly Palestinians and their property in response to Israeli government moves against illegal settlement outposts, but those behind them are almost never caught, let alone prosecuted.
But in recent months, there have also been vandalism attacks on Israeli bases in connection with the demolition of wildcat settlements, prompting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to announce tougher measures against the perpetrators.