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Monday, January 22, 2007

Police violence at Amona was planned

The one-year anniversary of the pogrom at Amona is coming up this week, and a report issued by a human rights group based in Judea and Samaria charges that police violence was planned.
Their central allegation is that harsh steps were taken by police, which were not spontaneous, and did not develop in response to developments during the course of events.

The violence, says the report, was preplanned, carried out at the orders of the police command and in keeping with government instructions.


The report includes hundreds of items of from witnesses and photographs of beating and injuries inflicted on demonstrators, in apparent acts of punishment rather than law enforcement. Dozens of witnesses tell of "beating of demonstrators on rooftops, for extended periods of time, during which they sat on the roof without resisting, waiting for bulldozers to take them down."

The complaint by one witness (Police Investigation Unit file 5693/06?), who had been on the roof of building No. 8, alleges the police climbed to the roof and repeatedly beat demonstrators who, at that stage, had taken no violent action against the police and were waiting to be taken down.

Another complaint describes two demonstrators on the rooftop of building No. 5 who, although willing to climb off the roof and leave, were beaten while moving in the direction indicated by the police, brutally shoved and forcefully thrown into a tractor's shovel.

Additional witnesses tell of beating of protesters who had ceased to resist, sometimes after they had been injured or were lying on the ground unable to move.

In one case, a witness alleges police used a low stone wall separating two rooftop areas as a torture instrument, dragging girls over the wall in such a way that scraped the skin of their backs. Another alleged that police hurled the head of a girl against a wall and attempted to break her nose by pressing his fingers in her nose and eyes.

According to the report, a filmed record that has come into the possession of the Human Rights in Yesha organization and will be filed shortly as a complaint, shows police jostling an arrested demonstrator and leading him to a pile of bricks on the ground. His shirt was removed, and police allegedly pushed his bare back against the bricks, grinding it again and again, the bricks being used as an implement to torture him.

It is alleged that that the events in question are not "standard police violence, spontaneous in nature, but preplanned, even trained violence." A similar claim, which the police reject, was also raised before the parliamentary probe into the events at Amona. Nevertheless, the committee found that excessive force was employed by police at Amona and censured the command.

According to the report, "over half of the police arrived for the operation without identification tags. Many refused to identify themselves, even responding to participants' queries with provocative answers like "Elijah the Prophet" or "Shimon Peres."

Many witnesses say demonstrators were kicked in sensitive areas such as the stomach, ribs, genitals and the head. Many dozens who came at Amona to express their legitimate right to protest and demonstrate, according to the report, continue to suffer various disabilities. Some of the injured have been hospitalized repeatedly, some required operations, some are still receiving physical therapy or psychiatric care.
Sorry folks, but look for the government to try to whitewash this. The only people in Israel who get any kind of compensation for being beaten are Arabs.


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