Friday, June 22, 2007

So, They Were Evil

So, they really were evil.


JERUSALEM -- Israeli police underwent special training for an assault on thousands of protesters during the demolition of nine homes in a Jewish community in the West Bank in 2006.
A senior Israeli police officer testified that 1,300 troops were told to club, trample and gas protesters, most of them teenagers, who sought to block the demolition of nine unlicensed Jewish homes in Amona in February 2005. The troops, who trained for up to four days, used clubs and horses to injure 300 protesters, some of them seriously, despite the assessment that resistance would be passive.
"Special emphasis was placed on the population that we were going to confront," Yuval Goldstein, a brigade commander of the Border Police, said.
In testimony to the Jerusalem Magistrates Court on June 18, Goldstein recalled the assault by 6,000 mounted police, anti-riot police and army troops at Amona. The force stormed the 5,000 demonstrators, who stood or sat with arms linked outside the houses slated for demolition.
Goldstein was testifying at the trial of police officer Eyal Fero. Fero was charged with aggravated assault of a reserve army colonel, Mordechai Yogev, who sought to persuade the young protesters to leave the homes.
Two Knesset members were also injured in the police operation -- which took place six months after the Israeli expulsion of 16,000 Jews from Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. Twenty officers were wounded as well, one of them by a brick thrown by protesters from the roof of a home.
At Fero's trial, Goldstein said the eviction force was instructed on methods to subdue the demonstrators. A 14-year police veteran, Goldstein said the methods, instructed by a general, ranged from shoving protesters to the use of clubs, horses, tear gas and water cannons.
"We expected passive resistance but this was different from the Disengagement [Israeli expulsion]," Goldstein said. "There were electric poles, building bars, sharp nails and paint. We had to isolate the area and make it sterile. We were supposed to have arrived when only the people were in the houses.
Yogev testified that he arrived at Amona to prevent youngsters from injury. He said Fero struck him in the stomach with a club and kept hitting him when he fell to the floor.
"I never expected such police brutality," Yogev, who served 23 years in an army commando unit, said.
Prior to the assault, Yogev recalled hearing girls scream "Save us" from a house 10 meters away. He said he wanted to enter the house to ensure that the protesters would be led to safety.
"But before I could speak, I was surrounded by border police," Yogev said. "I didn't manage to finish what I was saying and he [Fero] hit me a number of times in the stomach. Then I asked him why he was doing this and he hit me again.
Fero denied clubbing Yogev. He said he pushed the reserve colonel when he refused to leave.
"I pushed him [Yogev] in the chest," Fero said. "And then I returned to the wall [of policemen]."
Judge Haim Li-Ran asked Fero why he thought Yogev issued the complaint. Fero, who served in the Border Police as part of his compulsory military service, said Yogev represented a Jewish settler who sought to blackmail Israeli society
"This is the kind of perception," Fero said. "They [the settlers] take a ride on our backs. They get some more money and stop more evictions."
In a separate case, another police officer also testified that he was ordered to use his horse to assault Amona protesters. David Edri, charged with aggravated assault, allegedly trampled and injured a protester.
At first, Edri denied that he saw Yehuda Etzion, the injured protester who issued the complaint. Later, the officer, who said he was ordered to gallop into the crowd of protesters, admitted he saw Etzion and tried to steer his horse away from him.
"The officers told me to enter [the crowd of protesters]," Edri told the Jerusalem Magistrates Court on June 10. "We had permission from Zevulun Hadar [officer] to use all the paces [trot, canter and gallop]."

And the "peace camp" incites them to violence!

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