Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu, Barak Blamed for Plastic Bullets Shot at Gilad Farm

Giant pictures of Barak and Netanyahu were hoisted across from the Knesset amid demands for a probe of the shooting by police at Gilad Farm.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu and Hezki Ezra
First Publish: 3/6/2011, 11:45 AM / Last Update: 3/6/2011, 1:26 PM

Giant pictures of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were hoisted across from the Knesset Sunday amid demands for a probe of the shooting at Jews by police at Gilad Farm (Havat Gilad).

 “We will not allow the severe incident at Havat Gilad, where policemen shot at Jews, to be forgotten until there is a public investigation and an official statement by the government of Israel that rifles never again will be aimed towards Jews and used to shot them,” said Benny Katzover, chairman of the Shomron (Samaria) Residents Committee.

Netanyahu and Barak are responsible for what happened there. They have the power to change the situation, and they have the authority to call for order in the security forces that used the weapons against Jews,” he added.

Katzover warned, “It begins with rubber and plastic bullets and can end up with live ammunition.”

The government appears to have targeted Gilad Farm for punishment. After several demolitions and dozens of arrests the past year, police on the Sabbath arrested an observant Jew at the farm for allegedly damaging an olive tree of a neighboring Arab.

Last week, police staged a pre-dawn raid at Gilad Farm and shot plastic bullets at residents, 15 of whom were wounded, while two bulldozers demolished three structures, including the home of IDF soldier Shimon Weizman.

Officers kicked him out of the Kfir Brigade where he served as a combat soldier, after he said he would not return to the army until the government rebuilds his home. Dozens of comrades in Kfir have supported the soldier and have asked commanders to reinstate Weizman.

“It is totally illogical that at the same a soldier is serving in combat for the country, the government sends security forces to destroy his house,” said National Union Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben-Ari. “Netanyahu is tearing apart the fabric of Israeli society.”

The police originally insisted that they did not fire bullets during the demolitions, but then later admitted to doing so. Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovitch accepted a police statement that they shot in self-defense against rock-throwing Jews. However, no photo evidence has been produced to document such attacks and residents maintained that the police began shooting without provocation.

The minister, who is responsible for the police, has not yet responded to questions by Israel National News as to whether there is any evidence and why he accepted the police version without a preliminary investigation.