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West Bank settlers derided as terrorists for turning on their own army

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west Bank extremistsFor years extremist Jewish settlers have targeted Palestinians in retaliation for Israeli government efforts to curtail settlement growth, typically receiving only light punishment. But this week they turned on the soldiers charged with protecting them – and they may have gone too far.

On Tuesday, residents of the settlement Yitzhar and other sympathizers attacked a nearby Israel Defense Forces encampment staffed by reservists, destroying their living quarters. Condemnation has been swift and strident: Current and former government officials have called for the attackers to be labeled terrorists and rounded up. The overarching sentiment is that Israel's so-called "price tag" settlers are out of control.

"What is going on in the territories is Jewish terror,"  Ami Ayalon, a former head of the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet, told Yediot Ahronot. "All of the other definitions coming from the prime minister, from the ministers, or the president — 'hate crime,' ‘bad weeds,' and such — are meaningless. Laundered words. And until they do this, they won’t solve the problem."

This isn't the first time that vigilante settlers, who use the term "price tag" for their revenge attacks on Palestinians in response to Israeli efforts to curtail settlements, have attacked IDF targets. But they have never lashed out at guardposts of their own settlements, nor at reservists, who are seen by Israelis as sacrificing work and family for the state.his isn't the first time that vigilante settlers, who use the term "price tag" for their revenge attacks on Palestinians in response to Israeli efforts to curtail settlements, have attacked IDF targets. But they have never lashed out at guardposts of their own settlements, nor at reservists, who are seen by Israelis as sacrificing work and family for the state.

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