Photo Credit: Flash90
One of Yitzhar's building destroyed by the government. The demolition set off an angry response by local residents.

Police, disguised as soldiers, tried to entrap residents of Yitzhar while secretly video taping them. Additional police were waiting outside the town for mass arrests. Residents, recognizing the ambush for what it was, made fun of the latest failed attempt to entrap them.

The town’s yeshiva, Od Yosef Chai, has been under occupation by the Israeli Border Police since April, and a constant and large police presence is always active in the town. The occupation of the yeshiva began after the IDF destroyed five homes and buildings in Yitzhar in April, and some angry residents retaliated and damaged an IDF outpost and slashed army jeep tires in response.

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Police suspect, but for the most part, have been unable to find any evidence, that residents of Yitzhar, or Yeshiva students from the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva have been involved in violence against Arabs and the IDF, as well as “price tag” graffiti around the country.

Police have been escalating “catch and release” frivolous arrests of Yitzhar residents, including minors, in what the citizens claim is an attempt to harass them following the police’s ongoing failure to prove the town is the hotbed of “price tag” attacks that the government claim it is.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Ya’alon extended the occupation of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva by another 3 months, and residents believe the attempted video ambush was connected to that. They believe the government wanted to make a video to show off to the media of “violence from Yitzhar” to justify extending the seizure.

Residents claim that the IDF is trying to provoke them into responding, and the only one committing price tag attacks is the government with their home demolitions, harassment of citizens and frivolous arrests.

Meanwhile, the only videos of law-breaking coming out of Yitzhar lately are of police and soldiers ignoring traffic signs, the ongoing damage done to the Yeshiva by the military, and yesterday’s video of the police ambush being exposed.

There might very well be law-breakers who live in Yitzhar, but the way the government and the police are treating innocent citizens and trampling on democracy and the rule of law is far worse. But it’s no wonder they do that, when so many senior police, army and government officials are under investigation for one crime or another.

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