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Photo: Amit Shabi
Amona clashes – what happened during evacuation?
Photo: Amit Shabi
Were settler girls sexually assaulted?
Disturbing accounts: Following report about settler claims police officers molested girls during outpost evacuation, Ynet receives additional testimonies from educators and rabbis regarding girls complaining of sexual abuse by police
"Police officers rubbed up against us and touched our chest and intimate body parts. They used dirty words while doing it. One policeman said: 'Come, I'll screw you'…We felt like we were being raped." (The testimony of a girl in Amona.)

 

The above testimony is only one of the reports received by Ynet about a week after the violent clashes during the evacuation of the West Bank outpost of Amona. Yet this is not the only report. In recent days, Ynet received numerous testimonies by young settler girls who were in Amona during the clashes.

 

The testimonies did not come from political sources among the settlers' leadership, but rather, from the girls themselves, as well as from educators and rabbis shocked by what they heard. Only now, following the initial shock, is the truth coming out, they say.

 

At this time there is no way to ascertain wherther the testimonies are credible and truthful. Yet the question marks hanging over the conduct of police officers in Amona are disturbing.

 

'I'll screw you one by one'

 

Avi Gisser, the rabbi of the West Bank settlement of Ofra, told Ynet he is still shocked by the accounts he heard from girls.

 

"One girl told me: 'Police officers broke into the home where we were sitting on the floor and hugging. They broke through the door, broke windows, and saw us. There was a moment of hesitation. One of the police officers suddenly yelled: Treat them like boys! They started hitting us. We yelled at them: We want to get out of here. Please let us get out! But they responded: We'll rape you."

 

 

Rabbi Gisser stops his account and says he finds it difficult to repeat what he heard.

 

"The police officers told them: 'We will s-c-r-e-w you," he said, refraining from uttering the word and instead spelling it out.

 

The rabbi says another girl told him police officers touched female bodies "not in order to arrest or move them, but to really grope intimate body parts."

 

One girl reportedly told the rabbi: "One of the cops told a girl: 'Watch out, you're marked.' The girl then proceeded soil her pants in fear, according to the report.

 


Girls say they were subjected to sexual abuse (Photo: Amit Shabi)

 

Another girl who was standing on the roof of one of the structures in Amona while police officers stormed it told Ynet: "They started to push us into a corner while beating us, and aiming their blows to intimate body parts, such as the chest and below."

 

"After we were all right against the wall in the corner, they stood over us in a very threatening pose," she said. "It was a very difficult humiliation. One of the policemen later yelled at us: 'If you don't get off the roof I'll screw you one by one."

 

'Maybe it will be easier to tell strangers'

 

Meanwhile, an education official at one of the settlements told Ynet that difficult eyewitness testimonies from girls who took part in the Amona confrontations have also reached her.

 

According to the source, several days following the clashes the educational institute realized there was a need for psychologists and teachers to escort the girls, who went through difficult trauma and are only now beginning to deal with it and speak about it.

 

In the coming days, the education institute intends to gather the testimonies and deal with them. In the meantime, the institute has distributed a phone number to the teenagers for victims of sexual attacks.

 

"Maybe it will be easier for them to tell it to a stranger and not us," said the source with embarrassment.

 

Some of the accounts were raised during a stormy meeting between Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra and Yesha Council leaders. Ezra promised to examine whether police conducted themselves inappropriately.

 

A police statement to Ynet said "there is an investigation by the Police Investigations Unit on the issue of police conduct, and the complaints on the issue should be submitted in an orderly manner."

 

The Police Investigations Unit said that "up to now no complaint has been submitted, either on violence by police towards settlers, or on sexual harassment. With that, investigations have been initiated in light of suspicions of violence by police against citizens."

 

The Unit added that as soon as it would receive a complaint about sexual harassment, an investigation would immediately be launched.

 

Ahiya Raved contributed to the report

 


פרסום ראשון: 02.07.06, 01:07
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