Police Come Out Swinging; 100 Protestors Wounded So Far
Morning report: Scores of young Jewish protestors are wounded in Amona after police moved in swinging clubs. "Excessive police violence," according to all reports. One house has been destroyed.
Several youth were trampled by police horses and left bleeding on the ground. The police came to destroy nine Jewish-built houses deemed illegal, after Acting Prime Minister Olmert refused to agree to any compromise.
"We saw a lot of use of clubs and horses," one television commentator said, "and there are many questions that will have to be answered, because afterwards, the evacuation was done efficiently without such extreme violence."
Moti Yogev, a leader of the Amanah settlement organization, said in a breathless and even crying voice: "The police brutally beat me, and they brought in horses with uncontrolled violence. I begged the police commander to get rid of the horses, and they did so only after they left many people bleeding on the ground. This is the cruel violence of Olmert and Mofaz, and they will not be forgiven."
Reports on the number of people wounded vary from 80 to 250. Many of them have been taken to Jerusalem hospitals.
Police succeeded to break into one of the nine disputed houses. One man was seen on TV thrown from the window of the house and landing on his head.
Phone numbers of relevant public officials:
Police Chief Karadi - 02 5308100 fax 02 530 8118
President Moshe Katzav - phone: 02 6707211, fax 02 5671314
State Comptroller's Office - 02 666 5000, fax 02 666 5204
PM's Spokesman - 02 5666920 fax 02 566 9245
Olmert's personal spokesman - 02 6662301 fax 02 666 4400
Chief Rabbi Metzger 02 5377872 Chief Rabbi Amar 02 5371305
The police/army forces brought a D9 tractor to the first building, and unloaded a host of heavily-equipped special unit policemen over the barbed wire and onto the roof. They then began throwing the youths into the shovel of the bulldozer - first with great violence, which diminished in time. The removal of those on the roof took about a half-hour, and then the police crews moved to the second building.
Channel One's anchor interviewed MK Uzi Landau (Likud), on the backdrop of the violent scenes, and asked, "What can be done to stop this?" When Landau started to blame the Supreme Court for its decisions and the Acting Prime Minister for his refusal to agree to any compromise, the anchor shortly cut him off and said, "I'm sorry, what about the leadership of the youth, and you cannot do election propaganda here," and ended the interview.
In another television scene, a commentator explained why the police are allowed to use violence to enforce the law against "law-breakers," without noting that most of the protestors were not breaking any law but were rather protesting lawfully. As he spoke, a policeman could be seen pushing each protestor immediately after he or she jumped out of the window of the house.
Arutz-7's Yishai Fleischer reporting from the scene: "I am seeing youth exercising non-violent civil disobedience by laying down in front of a D-9 tractor which is heading towards the first house to destroy it. I just saw a soldier beating one of the youths who was laying down. He is now bleeding… This is not a joke. Police are now spraying some gas cloud onto the youth on the roofs. I have never seen this. I don't know what it is. The kids are having difficulty breathing."
Shortly afterwards, Fleischer said, "I just saw Knesset Member Dr. Aryeh Eldad walking around with his arm in a sling. I asked him what happened. He said, 'They broke my arm.'" Dr. Eldad was the former Chief Medical Officer of the IDF.
More scenes from the violent stage of Amona:
MK Effie Eitam was run over by a horse, and was seen bleeding heavily from his head.
Arutz-7 Radio showhost Ari Abromovitz reported the following live from Amona: "The soldiers came in on horses with clubs swinging indiscriminately. The protestors responded by hurling objects including rocks and bricks from the roofs. I saw a little girl kicked down the mountain. I have never seen anything so violent."
Several youth were trampled by police horses.
Yesha Council Leader Pinchas Wallerstein was screaming on Israel TV being the police to stop their indiscriminate smashing of heads. He described how in front of his eyes, young protestors who were standing looking on were suddenly attacked by police officers swinging clubs, only to be left laying on the ground bleeding from their heads. "It is shocking to see what Olmert is doing here," screamed Wallerstein on Israel TV. "I have never seen such a violent police evacuation in my life."
Israel TV showed a steady stream of stretchers with bleeding protestors being carried away.
At this hour, Arutz-7's IsraelNationalRadio is providing live coverage of the events in Amona.
A wild group of policemen ran into a private home in Amona, not one of those that was to be destroyed but in which many children and adults were staying, and knocked over a girl from her chair and made a general ruckus - all in search of a boy they thought had run in to the house.
Each of the nine houses was packed with youth, sleeping on every square inch of floorspace, while the roofs were filled with still more youths, behind barbed wire and the like. Policemen knocked down the window of one house, and began forcibly removing the people from inside. The Israel Broadcasting Authority Channel One television camera caught policemen pushing and beating youths even after they were outside the homes - but mysteriously, the camera then moved upwards and outwards so that these scenes could no longer be seen.
Initial reports say that 21 police officers were injured. No official reports have been received thus far regarding the youth who were injured from police violence. Eyewitness Yehudit Halfon saw two civilians transferred at the entrance to Jerusalem from regular to Intensive Care ambulances.