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Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More 'Amona' Fallout

'Amona' is back in the news tonight.

Arutz Sheva is reporting that pressure is growing for an investigation into police action at 'Amona.' This morning, the car of the police commander who was in charge at Amona was torched, and Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra - whose ministry is in charge of the police - blamed 'settlers' for it. Ezra also tried to relieve the heat on himself and the police by demanding that the army be investigated for its actions at Amona as well. From everything I have seen it was the police who were doing the beating at Amona and not the army.

Pictures of police involved in violence have been posted on the internet, and protests have been organized outside police headquarters. In addition, the car of the commander of the operation was torched outside his home Tuesday night – though it is unclear that the vandalism is related to the events at Amona.

Deputy Police Commander of Judea and Samaria Brig.-Gen. Meir Boukobza awoke during the night Tuesday to find his private car completely burned. Boukobza had been the senior officer on the ground in Amona, overseeing the violent destruction of nine homes in the community two weeks ago.


Though there is no evidence linking the vandalism with the violence in Amona, police told the media they suspect it was the work of "right-wing activists," but do not rule out criminal motives.

The anti-settlement Peace Now group immediately issued a statement blaming the attack on "wild incitement by settler leaders and right-wing Knesset members." MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz-Yahad) blamed the attack on MK Effie Eitam, who suffered a head injury at Amona.

MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union), whose arm was broken in Amona, said Tuesday that the Division for the Investigation of Police Officers (Machash) cannot be relied upon to examine the events of Amona fairly. "Now it is finally clear that our claims that Machash whitewashes the investigations of officers are correct," MK Eldad said. "The advancement of Machash investigators depends upon their commanding officers in the police – the very ones they are supposed to be investigating. There is no chance that a Machash investigation will deal fairly against those who carried out criminal acts in Amona. Therein lies the necessity for the establishment of an external commission of inquiry."


The Association for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria uploaded photographs of 150 police and Yassam brigade members who took part in the violence at Amona Tuesday. Each picture is numbered in order to enable those who were injured to identify their attackers. "Since most of the police in Amona took the illegal measure of removing their name tags, this album is necessary in order to properly identify them," chairperson Orit Strook said.

The photos of the police from Amona can be viewed at the following links:
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Page 6

In the meantime, the JPost is reporting this evening that the Likud has a campaign ad blaming the brutality at 'Amona' on acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. No real surprises there either. (For those who have never been through an Israeli election, during the last three weeks leading up to the election, television and radio broadcast half an hour of non-stop campaign commercials morning and night. That should start on March 7 - three weeks from yesterday. Since I am a mourner this year - my mother passed away six months ago - I will miss the commercials entirely. No great loss!).

The Likud unveiled a controversial new election commercial on Wednesday that blames Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for the violence between police and settlers at the Amona outpost two weeks ago.

The ad alleges that the Amona evacuation was intended to be a one-time event to portray Olmert as a leader sparring with the demonized settlers. It shows horses and soldiers alongside Olmert speaking and ends with the slogan "Olmert lacks sensitivity and responsibility. We cannot let him run the country."

The head of the Likud's public relations team, MK Gideon Sa'ar, told reporters at a Tel Aviv press conference that his party agreed that illegal outposts had to be evacuated but he questioned Olmert's motives in evacuating one outpost in a confrontational manner while leaving dozens of other outposts intact.

"Leaders have to be judged by the results, and Amona has to be considered a failure because more than 200 people were wounded for the removal of eight buildings that the the settlers themselves had volunteered to remove that same morning," Sa'ar said. "If the reason for Amona's evacuation was abiding by the law, why aren't other outposts being removed? Apparently, everything is politics for Ehud Olmert."


At 1:19 PM, Blogger westbankmama said...

I heard the ad on Galei Tzahal yesterday. It sounds ominous.


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