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      Police Violence in Yitzhar, Locals Complain to AG

      Police destroyed two trailer homes in Yitzhar and injured several protestors with clubs. Residents continue to block the road.
      By Hillel Fendel and Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 6/19/2008, 10:07 AM / Last Update: 6/19/2008, 11:57 AM

      Police destroyed a container near Yitzhar, in the north-central Samaria region, Thursday morning, then proceeded with a large crane to another small farm nearby to destroy a trailer home. Dozens of residents resisted the demolition.



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      A lone trailer home on barren hilltop destroyed due to int'l pressure
      Israel News Photo: Yoni Gormezano
       

      Israel News Photo: Yoni Gormezano

      The police responded with clubs and tear gas, injuring several residents, and arrested eight.  After about an hour, they succeeded in destroying the trailer home at the Shaked Farm and quickly left the scene.

      One Border Guard police officer was injured by tear gas; the police and residents each accuse the other of employing the offending tear gas. The police also say that seven officers were injured by rocks thrown at them.

      The incident continued throughout much of the day on Route 60, the main north-south highway in the area, with residents blocking the road near the local police headquarters in protest. Some youths from Yitzhar also entered neighboring Arab villages and threw rocks.

      Yitzhar spokesman Yigal Amitai said during the original incident that the police destroyed the trailer home illegally.  "No orders have been issued against the home," he said, "and it has been there for more than 90 days and is connected to water and electricity."  An urgent legal warning was sent on the matter to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and to the Commander of the Samaria and Judea Police District.

      The first trailer home that was destroyed was located on Givat Lehavah, adjacent to Yitzhar, and belonged to the Ben-Pinchas family. The police then moved to the Shaked Farm, on another side of Yitzhar. Yitzhar is located 20 miles due east of Herziliya.

      IDF Border Guard Officer Arrested for Refusing Orders
      One IDF Border Guard police officer was also arrested during the incident. The officer was apprehended after he broke down in tears and refused to participate in the destruction of the home at the Shaked Farm.

      Young Couple's Home Taken
      The modest house was to be used for Yitzhar residents Malachi Lev and his fiancee Naomi, who are to be married ten days from now.  Eyewitnesses say that when Naomi tried to prevent her future home from being destroyed, she was attacked by male policemen.  When Rabbi David Dudkevitz, Rabbi of Yitzhar, then came to her aid, the police attacked him with what eyewitnesses described as excessive force.  The witness said that at least one person was hurt and on the verge of unconsciousness.

      Amitai further said that the Shaked Farm has been evacuated four times in the past, "including sometimes at the expressed demand of the White House."

      "Only he who comes to an agreement with the terrorists in the past and who abandons Gilad Shalit and the residents of Sderot," Amitai said, "can have the nerve to war with the Jewish residents of the Samaria region."

      Baruch Marzel, head of the Jewish Front movement, said, "The policemen of the Samaria and Judea District must be brought to justice" for their clubbing of residents. "They are planning another Amona for us," referring to a violent police destruction of seven homes in a neighborhood near Ofra in which hundreds of Land of Israel loyalists were injured.

      Vilnai: Six Homes in Brachah to be Destroyed
      On Wednesday, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai informed the Knesset that the homes of six Jewish families in the Samaria community of Har Bracha, near Shechem, will be destroyed.

      National Union faction leader MK Uri Ariel responded to the Labor MK by pointing out that the houses were built ten years ago on government land that is not owned by Arabs. MK Ariel also noted that illegally-built Arab homes in the area are not being destroyed, and said, "At the same time that the defense establishment is agreeing to a temporary ceasefire with terrorists in Gaza, it acts against Jews in Samaria."