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Haaretz: Yitzhar settlers erect outpost near site of West Bank rampage

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Dozens of youths from the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar on Sunday established an outpost near a Palestinian village that settlers had rampaged in the previous day.

The settlers were responding Saturday to the stabbing of a 10-year-old Israeli boy by a Palestinian at the illegal outpost of Shalhevet Yam near Yitzhar.

Earlier Sunday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared that Israel’s government will not allow settlers to carry out “pogroms against non-Jews.”

Speaking at the weekly cabinet meeting one day after the rampage in the village of Assira al-Kabaliya, Olmert said “there will not be pogroms against non-Jews in the state of Israel.”

The violence in Assira al-Kabaliya left at least eight Palestinians hurt. The boy, stabbed in the back and the hand, sustained minor wounds.

“The phenomenon of [settlers] taking the law into their own hands and lashing out with violence and brutality is unforgivable, and will be dealt with by the law enforcement authorities,” Olmert said.

The prime minister went on to describe the previous day’s events, saying “in northern Samaria there was a terror attack, and a young boy was hurt. This is serious and momentous and the defense forces will find the culprit and do what needs to be done, as they do every day. However, Yitzhar settlers went on a retaliatory rampage against Palestinian residents, using live fire.”

Olmert went on to say that there was no reason to believe that the Palestinians targeted by the settlers had any connection to the stabbing attack earlier in the day.

“There are law enforcement authorities in the state of Israel,” Olmert told the cabinet, “we have a military and security services and we won’t allow this kind of violence or brutal attacks on civilians. Moreover, the violence is not used against those suspected of terrorism, it is used against Israel Defense Forces officers and soldiers. I urge the authorities to take measures to end this grave phenomenon.”

In a meeting of Labor Party ministers earlier Sunday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak sais that “the defense establishment will act with decisiveness to enforce law and order in the West Bank, but we need the cooperation of the police and the legal system.”