The committee will summon the top enforcement officials in the country, including Acting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, and Police Chief Moshe Karadi will all be asked to appear before the committee.
The investigation will focus on the unprecedented use of force against Jewish protestors in Amona on February 1st. Resisters were attempting to prevent the destruction of nine uninhabited houses in the small Jewish community. A large majority of the injured protestors were minors, and approximately half were female.
Click here to watch Arutz Sheva’s newly released 9-minute Amona documentary, with exclusive footage capturing the extent of the police actions.
The Special Investigative Knesset Committee, headed by Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Yuval Steinitz (Likud), will be viewing this documentary directed by Tzvi Fishman, as part of their evidence gathering sessions.
Forces that arrived on the scene to disperse the activists ahead of the demolitions arrested only three dozen protestors, while over 325 were treated by medics for sustained injuries, with over 60 individuals evacuated to Jerusalem hospitals. Two severely injured victims were taken to the hospital by Medi-vac choppers.
Most of those beaten by police forces suffered multiple head wounds from poundings they received by police batons. Others suffered broken ribs, limbs, and jaws. Israeli Knesset Members Aryeh Eldad and Effie Eitam (National Union) sustained a broken arm and a head wound, respectively, at the hands of police.
Eldad briefly fell unconscious from the pain caused by the fracture, but remained in Amona with his arm in a sling until the police left. He later went to the hospital on his own to have his arm set and casted. Eitam was taken from the scene by medics to Hadassah hospital’s Neurology Department, where he was treated on the same floor as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon—who still lies comatose following a massive cerebral hemorrhage January 4th.
While all those injured in the violence are expected to recover, including a boy who was left in a coma for several days, the causes for such a violent clash remain untreated.
Acting Prime Minister Olmert (Kadima), who is leading a temporary government until elections take place on March 28th, claimed that it is “insufferable” to fault the police’s actions in Amona. He refused to conduct an executive ministerial investigation into the use of excessive force and blamed the activists for the violent clash.
Following Olmert’s refusal to conduct his own investigation, the recently disbanded Knesset convened a unique special session to approve the forming of a legislative investigation.
Various Knesset factions lay the finger of blame on Olmert himself, who initiated the timing of the building destruction and refused to accept any of the offered compromises leading up to the demolitions. One such initiative was for the Amona community to uproot the houses from their disputed positions, and transfer them less than two kilometers to the nearby, large town of Ofra.
Political analysts have asserted that Olmert ordered the destruction of the homes to isolate residents of the disputed Israeli territories of Judea and Samaria; and gain the electoral support of Israel’s extreme left-wing, who promote the ceding of Jewish lands for the creation of an additional Arab state.
When Olmert insisted that demolitions take place, hundreds of activists poured into the young community of Amona to resist the police action.
While a handful of protestors were spotted throwing rocks and other objects at incoming police, most activists, including young women, were employing non-violent resistance. At one point, police are seen on video repeatedly pounding activists seated on the floor of one of the houses with their arms locked together.
The investigative committee plans to call Olmert to testify in mid-March just ten days prior to national elections. Olmert has promised to disband the committee if elected to form the next Israeli government.
While Kadima party members believe the subpoena of Olmert is a political attempt to undermine the elections, Committee Chairman Steinitz disagrees. "This committee is not political, we are launching an investigation because we need to know what happened in Amona," said Steinitz. "We will ensure that we function as a politically balanced team."
Click here to watch Arutz Sheva’s Amona footage, to be shown to the Knesset Committee.