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Officer: Army 'Heartless' When it Come to Outpost Demolitions

A top officer in the Israeli Police slammed the participation of Arab workers in the demolition of outposts.
By David Lev
First Publish: 2/2/2012, 10:53 AM

Migron eviction
Migron eviction
Uzi Baruch, Arutz Sheva

A top officer in the Israeli Police slammed the Defense Ministry's decision to allow Arab workers to participate in the demolition of buildings in new neighborhoods (“outposts”) conducted by the IDF, police, and Border Guards over the past few months. Last September, Arutz Sheva reported that Arab workers participated in the demolition of Migron. According to witnesses, the Arabs laughed and joked while pulling apart structures, making fun of the Jews who were being “exiled” from the site. The officer criticized the inclusion of Arabs in the demolition and evacuation of Migron, terming it “heartless.”

The officer also criticized the recent late-night eviction of families from Mitzpeh Avichai by Yassam police. The eviction took place in the pre-dawn hours of a very cold night, with residents, including numerous children, roused from their sleep and thrown out into the cold. “I am very sorry that the operation was conducted as it was,” the officer told Arutz Sheva. “You cannot throw families out into the freezing cold in the middle of the night. It's just not right.”

The IDF apparently does not agree. During a press conference after the Mitzpeh Avichai evictions an IDF officer responded to a query by an Arutz Sheva reporter on the timing of the operation by saying that Border Guards had decided to move ahead with the eviction “in order to avoid confrontations with residents and protesters, who would have made the operation more complicated.” By throwing the residents out in the middle of the night, the official said, protesters did not have the opportunity to gather and prevent the evictions.

Numerous media commentators – and not just those on the right – said that operations to evict Jews from these communities in recent months have taken on the persona of a “price tag” operation, with the IDF apparently seeking “revenge” against innocent residents, who are the “scapegoats” for individuals or groups who have allegedly slashed tires on military vehicles and scrawled graffiti protesting the evictions.

A resident of Migron, Tami Gutman, recently testified in the Knesset about the difficulties that have been imposed on residents of her community in recent months. “They are denying us our basic rights, prohibiting us from even removing our personal items when they come to destroy homes. They took our belongings, wrapped them in sheets and threw them out the window. We tried to shield our children by sending them to neighbors, but they saw the army destroying our home.”