Israel Police in Judea and Samaria are suspected of forging a tape of a briefing that supposedly took place prior to the violent events of February 1, 2006 at Amona.
On that day, the Israel Police carried out orders to demolish nine Jewish homes in Amona, 12 miles north of Jerusalem. The police were filmed using excessive force against hundreds of youthful protestors, over 200 of whom were injured and taken to hospitals for treatment.
Dr. Yitzchak Klein of the Israel Policy Center has gone public with evidence suggesting that a tape released recently by the police has several signs of being tampered with or staged altogether.
Can't see video box above?
The tape allegedly shows Judea and Samaria District Commander Maj.-Gen. Yisrael Yitzhak briefing the policemen who were chosen to carry out the demolition orders prior to the mission. The filmed briefing, which aimed at proving that police did not receive explicit orders to use violence against protesters, was handed over to the Israel Policy Forum after six months of refusals by the police, who explained its release would compromise national security.
- The Israel Policy Center had the tape examined by professionals, who found a number of suspicious anomalies.
- The timestamp on the close-up of the commander delivering the briefing, March 5, 2006, was five weeks after the events at Amona, when a Knesset committee of inquiry had already been established and was demanding a response from the police.
- There is at no point a shot panning both the audience and the close up of the speaker.
- As the audio of the briefing continues, the camera cuts to the audience of 1000 riot police listening. The exact same footage panning the audience is used a total of six times throughout the video.
- The filmed footage of the audience is jumpy indicating that the video camera was hand held. The filmed footage of the officer delivering the briefing (with the time stamp 6 weeks later) was steady indicating that the camera was mounted on a tripod.
- In relation to landmarks at the site, such as a dirt path, it appears the speaker is standing in two different locations in the two different camera shots.
- When seen from behind with a wide angle shot including the audience, the speaker does not appear to have notes on the podium, but when in the close up version shot from the side, he is reaching down to shuffle his notes.
- Six minutes were missing entirely.
"It appears that the material was extracted from a larger body of raw footage," Klein said at a press conference Tuesday. "We requested the raw footage, but the police said that this is all the footage they have."
Arutz-7’s Israel National TV examined the video as well, producing an in-depth report examining the alleged inconsistencies in the footage. Click here to view the Hebrew report and the police footage.
The Israel Policy Center has filed a complaint with the Police Investigation Unit alleging that Judea and Samaria District Commander Maj.-Gen. Yisrael Yitzhak, seen delivering the briefing in a barren valley, with a podium and microphone, forged the tape, which shows him instructing police officers that they should avoid violence during the demolition of nine houses at Amona.
"Anyone who is inside the circle or in the buildings, we will take him out," Maj.-Gen. Yitzhak is seen saying on the video. "And if he resists passively, then that is the end of the matter. You have helmets and clubs. If you need to, then use them, but if you don't need to, then don't use them."
“If the briefing had been real,” Dr. Klein said, “the police would not have used excessive force during the destruction. We suspect that this briefing is not the real briefing.”
The complaint was filed with Israel’s State Comptroller, the Public Security Ministry and the Attorney General as well. “Who was this video made for and why?” Dr. Klein asks in his petition. “If this is not the real briefing, what happened to the real briefing?"
Due to the violence at Amona, which included mounted riot police beating protesters with batons, as well as the beating of passive protesters sitting on the ground with their arms locked, over 200 were treated at regional hospitals due to wounds sustained.
Police Respond, Threaten Dr. Klein With Legal Action
Senior police officials responded angrily Tuesday afternoon to accusations that they had fabricated the tape. A police spokesman called Dr. Klein’s claim “inaccurate,” and accused him of attempting “to hurt the good name of the Israeli police to make headlines with no factual basis.”
He said the entire video was taken in the presence of former Police Chief Moshe Karadi and was taken at the Beit Guvrin Border Police base prior to departure to Amona.
“The police provided and will continue to provide all relevant materials regarding [Amona] and any explanations necessary to counter the claims of [Dr. Klein] and arrive at the truth,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman added that the police will consider taking legal action against Dr. Klein.