Daily Israel Report

Clamor Increases to Investigate Police Violence at Gilad Farm

MKs Orlev & Ariel, Land of Israel Legal Forum, Yesha Council – all demand investigation of extreme police violence during Gilad Farm destruction.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 2/28/2011, 1:06 PM / Last Update: 2/28/2011, 1:17 PM

MKs Zevulun Orlev (Jewish Home) and Uri Ariel (National Union), the Land of Israel Legal Forum, and the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria – all demand an investigation into the extreme police violence at today’s destruction at the Gilad Farm - Havat Gilad, a private farm in the Shomron, near Kedumim.

The police denied using rubber bullets – and the residents confirmed. “They used pneumatic bullets, which are much worse,” said one resident; see photo (red background, below) showing samples of projectiles shot by the police. 

The end of the video above [provided by the Shomron Residents Committee] shows a policeman shooting at a resident from “three meters away,” according to Ilana Shimon, Community Director and member of the town council. "My husband was protesting how they shoved me and tore off my sister-in-law's head kerchief, so they pushed him away and then shot him from short-range... There was tremendous violence of all kinds - violence, violence, violence. They took our adopted son and arrested him – and then, even after he was on the floor, they continued beating him!”

Destroyed were a home, the foundations of two homes, a tent above one of them, and the village gate.

Shimon said the residents of the farm – 28 families, most with young children – plan to immediately begin building three additional buildings as their response to today’s events. “Though we are short on funds, and we have had to raise funds for soler fuel just to heat our homes, we are embarking on this campaign because the only answer to these tribulations is to keep on building! For those who want to help, our bank account number is Mizrachi-Tefachot 483-188835.”

Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan has already written to IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz and Israel Police Chief David Cohen, demanding that they investigate the source of the orders to open fire at residents during the demolition operation. 

"It is completely unthinkable,” Dayan wrote, “that soldiers and police officers would point a weapon at the inhabitants, and it doesn't matter what kind of ammunition is being used."

Residents of Havat Gilad said that in addition to dye bullets, police also used gas grenades and stun grenades.

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel called for the Police Investigation Unit to open an immediate inquiry into today’s events. Forum Director Nachi Eyal said that the 13 wounded and the level of violence shows that security forces acted savagely. “It must be ascertained who gave the orders to be overly violent,” he said, “and the Forum will do what it can to bring those responsible to trial… Any soldier or policeman who doesn't understand that enforcement of construction laws does not justify shooting at citizens should be banned from serving in the security services of the State of Israel."

MK Zevulun Orlev said he was “astounded” by the level of violence displayed by security forces. "We will demand a thorough investigation and prosecution of security forces," he said. Earlier, MK Uri Ariel (National Union) said he expected to see the violent police officers and those who gave them their orders brought to trial.