Photo: Reuters
'We succeeded in the mission given to us.' Amona clashes
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters
'We prepared for resistance and some level of violence'
Photo: Reuters

'Amona clashes most violent in years'

(VIDEO) Police officer tells Ynet following evacuation of illegal West Bank outpost, ‘I have been targeted by more rocks today than anywhere in Gaza or the West Bank’; IDF official: What we saw today was exaggerated, severe, and very worrying

(VIDEO) Hundreds of evacuees, dozens of injured, and nine demolished buildings. The struggle over the Amona outpost has been marked by unprecedented violence.


It can certainly be described as the most severe and violent clash between the State and right-wing activists, with more violence seen in Amona than in all of the incidents of the disengagement.


Security forces, settlers clash (Footage: Yaron Brenner)


One police officer told Ynet: "I have been targeted by more rocks today than anywhere in Gaza or the West Bank."


Border Guard Commander Hasin Faris arrived at the Hadassah hospital in Jerusalem to visit some of his officers injured in clashes in Amona.



Faris said that the protesters in Amona "used violence against police that we have not seen in the last five years. We expected this development and we were prepared with our forces. We instructed the officers to act with determination and sensitivity to enforce the law."


A security official told Ynet, "We succeeded in the mission given to us, but will have to do a lot of serious thinking the next time that we are ordered to carry out such activity. A legal operation by the government must not result in so many injuries."


A military official, trying to explain the level of violence, said, "In Amona, we saw the result of rage and frustration by those opposed to the relatively smooth evacuation of Gush Katif.


The operation took under four hours despite the 3,000 protesters who inhabited the illegal buildings and the rooftops. There are, however, worried voices alongside those congratulating the security forces for completing the mission.


"We prepared for resistance and some level of violence. But what we saw today was exaggerated, severe, and very worrying," said a military source.


Thousands of protesters, including those who were injured, expected police to have the upper hand by the end, but the IDF believes that the struggle which took a number of hours will only encourage activists to take part in such struggles in the future.


"Tomorrow we'll see how many more thousands will be on the rooftops in another outpost. One of them won't be armed with rocks but with a hot weapon," said a military source. "For them, Gush Katif was a failure, and Amona was a kind of dangerous victory," added the source, who also said he believed that it was not the IDF that should supply the answers, but other elements in the country.


Around 250 injured in clashes


A spokesman for Magen David Adom said that 219 people had been treated for injuries from clashes in the outpost of Amona.


One man is seriously injured, and nine others sustained moderate to light injuries. Most of those injured have already been taken to a number of hospitals.


A further 25 lightly injured people were evacuated from the scene of the clashes.


Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz spoke with Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and Police Chief Moshe Karadi, as well as Central Command Chief Yair Naveh and the Judea and Samaria Division Commander Yair Golan, and offered them his support following the completion of the Amona evacuation.


"All of the security services are fully behind you," Mofaz said.


Police Commander Ronny Ohana, who presided over a police force which isolated the area, told Ynet, "Protest is legitimate, but boulders, concrete blocks, and rocks on the heads of police and citizens is atrocious irresponsibility. The forces showed determination despite their lives being in danger."


State prosecutors told Ynet that any testimonies against rioters in Amona will result in indictments against them.


"It's clear according to the pictures and injures that this was violent resistance, much more so than seen in the entire disengagement, and therefore we are deep in our zero tolerance policies," said a source from the Prosecutors' Office.


Right accuses police of unjustified violence


National Religious Party Secretary-General Sar Shalom Jerbi has demanded that Minister for Interior Security Gideon Ezra establish an independent investigation committee to examine the conduct of police in Amona.


According to Jerbi, who was at the scene during the evacuation, police in Amona acted with brutality towards youths with no justification.


The outpost's evacuation was undertaken in stages, with forces first heading in the direction of Amona at 3 a.m. Wednesday. The troops were greeted with a barrage of rocks, oil, paint, and water, but stopped at the outpost's entrance after the High Court of Justice issued a temporary injunction against the demolition of Amona homes.


Unlike the disengagement from Gaza, officers did not have a choice whether to take part or not in this evacuation. "This was a High Court decision, not a government decision, and we came up to enforce it, because that is our job," said one of the police officers.


Meital Yasur Beit-Or, Efrat Weiss, Anat Bershkovsky, and Tal Rosner contributed to this report 


פרסום ראשון: 02.01.06, 18:40
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