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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Hebron Rioting

Ehud Olmert's caretaker government has taken upon itself to expel Jews from Hebron, possibly in a bid to win the open backing of the Bush administration for Kadima Achora's election bid. As of now (10:51 AM), if you go to the JPost's home page, you will see one of the terrifying 'rioters' being arrested and taken away from Hebron. She's a girl who looks about 14-15 wearing glasses and a winter coat. Some 'rioter.' /sarc.

As security forces prepared to make major arrests in Hebron Tuesday morning, they decided to give all non-residents in the city until 10 a.m. to evacuate. Any non-resident still in the city after that hour would be immediately arrested. Hebron was declared a closed military zone on Monday evening.

As protests and violence entered their sixth day, police already possessed an arrest list with scores of names.

Violence broke out in Hebron on Thursday when local residents who took over the vacant marketplace in 2001 believed that an IDF eviction was imminent. Very fierce confrontations evolved with the settlers throwing eggs and paint at security forces, and explicitly comparing them to Nazis.

OC Central Command Maj.Gen. Yair Naveh signed orders on Monday night declaring Hebron a closed military zone. Fearing a further escalation in violence, the order is designed to prevent more settler supporters from reaching the city to participate in the clashes.

Security officials said the closed military zone that effective as of Tuesday morning, facilitated security forces to restore law and order and more easily arrest those spotted participating in violent acts against security forces.

As an additional measure to restore the calm, Police geared up to forcibly remove the scores of protesters who arrived in the city in recent days to participate in the unrest.

A tense calm prevailed in the city on Monday, which resembled a city under siege, as hundreds of police reinforcements and IDF troops were deployed to quell any further outbreaks of violence. Police arrested three young women who allegedly participated in the clashes and threw stones and eggs at security forces, bringing the total number of demonstrators so far arrested to 22.

Police said one of the detainees had in her posession a ninja spike when she was detained.
The violence of recent days was spurred by the pending eviction of eight families living in the Mitzpe Shalhevet neighborhood, located in a former wholesale market in the city.

Sources in the IDF said that already last week the Hebron residents were informed that there were no plans to evacuate the families this week. According to security officials, the evacuation of the illegal outposts in Samaria will take place before the families in Hebron are forcibly removed.


The police action was harshly criticized by the Hebron Jewish community leadership, who declared the behavior illegal, noting that the police had not even produced search warrants when entering the homes.

Noam Arnon, spokesman for the Jewish community in the city declared that in the morning, the leadership requested that the hundreds of youths who had entered the city in recent days, leave and return to their homes.

Arnon called the police action provocative, and declared it will only serve to fuel the violence, rather than quell it. "Today we asked the supporters to leave the city, instead of calming the situation the police burst into Avraham Avinu and searched private property. I don't know what they are searching for, the situation is quiet now. They don't even have search warrants, what they are doing is illegal."

Police Inspector General Moshe Karadi however disputed the claim, and declared that the law permits police to conduct searches and track down and arrest lawbreakers involved in violence. "Anyone who harmed police or soldiers in the city will be punished," he told Israel Radio. Referring to the events of recent days, Karadi said security forces will show zero tolerance to the lawbreakers.

The situation in Hebron is far different from that faced by security forces during the Gaza disengagement, Karadi said. Then security forces were instructed to show tolerance and sensitivity, however in Hebron, police will deal determinedly and with less sensitivity with the youth who reached the city with the intention of causing trouble and breaking the law, he said.

Dep.Cmdr. Shlomo Efrati, a senior Hebron Police officer, said police have faced difficulty in identifying the rioters because of the masks they wore to cover their faces when clashing with security forces. He added that the violent demonstrations that took place in the city, were well planned, and that organized transport brought the hundreds of demonstrators to the city where they were provided with accommodation.


Following the Machpela Cave massacre when Baruch Goldstein gunned down and killed 29 Moslem worshipers in 1994, Palestinians fled the market area which was left empty and neglected. The army barred Palestinians from moving back to the area after the outbreak of the Al Aksa intifada.

In 2001, eight settlers families occupied the stores in response to the murder of baby Shalhevet Pass, who was shot in the head by a Palestinian sniper. While there is no dispute over the fact that the buildings are located on Jewish owned land, the families living there have failed to prove ownership in a series of appeals held in the High Court of Justice. [If there is 'no dispute' over the fact that the buildings are located on Jewish owned land, what 'ownership' did they 'fail to prove to the High Court of Justice? CiJ]

Because of this, at the orders of Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, the families were served eviction orders and informed that they had up until January 115 to leave the premises willingly.

This is what our security forces are spending their time doing?


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