update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Israel Police establishes Judea and Samaria ‘anti-anarchist’ unit

The special team works under the command of Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Palestinians and left-wing activists clash with Israeli security forces in the village of Beit Dajan in Samaria, May 12, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.
Palestinians and left-wing activists clash with Israeli security forces in the village of Beit Dajan in Samaria, May 12, 2023. Photo by Nasser Ishtayeh/Flash90.

The Israel Police has established a dedicated team to deal with the increasing phenomenon of left-wing anarchists who are undermining security and stability in Judea and Samaria, Ynet reported Tuesday.

The special division, which includes detectives from the investigation and intelligence unit who work in cooperation with immigration officers and officials from the Population and Immigration Authority, works under the command of Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

“Establishing the anarchist treatment team is consistent with my clear policy that seeks to fight against those who violate the order and be decisive against them,” Ben-Gvir told Ynet.

“The same anarchist elements that I see in Judea and Samaria or Hebron are cursing the Israel Defense Forces soldiers, are exacerbating the situation, inciting and encouraging harm against Jews, thus harming the security of the state,” he said.

A security source told the outlet that the police unit focuses both on foreign nationals and Israeli citizens and has already successfully been operating for approximately two weeks, detaining several suspects.

Earlier this month, two U.S. citizens were arrested on suspicion of interfering with an Israel Defense Forces exercise in Judea and Samaria alongside two well-known left-wing Israeli activists, per Ynet.

The Americans were detained and banned from Judea and Samaria for two weeks, while the Israeli citizens were arrested and subsequently barred from entering the area for 60 days.

Two weeks ago, two far-left activists from France and the United Kingdom were deported after clashing with soldiers near Mitzpe Yair in Judea. They were banned from entering the country for “many years,” police said.

Far-left activist groups are increasingly filing false complaints against Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, a representative of the Israel Police told lawmakers at the Knesset in Jerusalem last month.

“Since the beginning of the war, there has been an upsurge in complaints from Palestinians and anarchists,” Chief Superintendent Avishay Mualem, responsible for policing the area, told the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

According to Mualem, reports come from the “extreme left, anarchists, who are generally in Tel Aviv and call the 100 emergency hotline to report violence by right-wing activists in the South Hebron Hills.”

The Israel Police only has one patrol in the area; an investigation showed that some 50% of all complaints filed by left-wing groups in recent months have been false, said Mualem.

The actions of these organizations are causing reputational damage to the entire State of Israel, and have led the United States and other countries to impose sanctions, the police commander claimed.

According to data gathered by authorities, compared to the same period last year, the past four months saw a decrease of 50% in the number of violent incidents committed against Palestinians in Judea and Samaria.

Meanwhile, Judea and Samaria saw a dramatic rise in Palestinian attacks in 2023 compared to the previous year, with shootings reaching their highest level since the Second Intifada of 2000-05, according to IDF data.

Between Oct. 7 and Jan. 15, Rescuers Without Borders first responders recorded more than 2,600 Palestinian attacks targeting Israelis in Judea and Samaria, including 760 cases of rock-throwing, 551 fire bombings, 12 attempted or successful stabbings and nine vehicular assaults.

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