Condemnations of the police intensify, following the release of additional details of the ambush/entrapment the police perpetrated on Thursday against six Jewish youths from the Shomron.
Shomron Regional Council Chairman Gershon Mesika is demanding a public inquiry to thoroughly investigate the “provocation and its motives.” The incident involved policemen hiding inside an Arab-licensed car that was suspected of setting up a terror attack. The details were revealed based on a court ruling on the police request for extension of custody of the six arrested youths, and letter written by Mesika.
"...the policemen suddenly emerged from their hiding spot in the car and began attacking the residents with great violence..."
Mesika wrote to Shlomo Ka’atbi, head of the Samaria and Judea Police District, “A car with Palestinian license plates, driven by an Arab, with another Arab sitting next to him – [apparently] policemen disguised as Arabs – entered the area of the Gilad Farm, and parked on the side, with the two ‘Arabs’ appearing to need help in fixing a tire. This, while all four tires were in perfect shape. This aroused the suspicion of the residents that this might be an terrorist attempt, as occurred just two weeks ago in the Jordan Valley [when terrorists murdered two policemen who offered them help in changing their 'flat tire' – ed.].”
“After those two men [who appeared to be in need] responded with suspiciously strong aggressiveness to the residents’ questions and succeeded in causing the argument/clash that they wanted to create, the policemen suddenly emerged from their hiding spot in the car and began attacking the residents with great violence and tear gas – including residents who happened to be passing by.”
The Ynet article on the incident quoted the same letter, word for word – but omitted the words “in the car.” The Ynet report thus implied that the policemen were hiding nearby, outside the car. Mesika's letter states, however, that the policemen were hiding "in the car," and this is corroborated by eyewitnesses' testimony.
Six youths were then arrested for “an attempted run-down” and “violence.” Shortly afterwards, the police spokesperson released a statement referring to the “Jewish residents’ “extreme violence.”
Judge Lashes Out at Police
On Friday, Kfar Saba Magistrates Court Judge David Gadol voiced strong criticism of the police, and ordered the immediate release of the arrestees; some of them were ordered not to leave their homes until Monday.
Judge Gadol’s unusually sharp criticism – he did not even agree to the police request for a brief stay of execution, which is commonly implemented in such cases – was directed at the very notion of carrying out an entrapment of this nature, and especially after two policemen were so recently killed in precisely the same way.
“For the police to again endanger its men in this way” is unacceptable, the judge said. He noted that the entire incident was an unreasonable provocation in order to create an artificial incident of violence, and was irresponsible from a security standpoint. “The police were liable to have been considered terrorists,” Judge Gadol said, adding that the police request for extension of custody was “unreasonable and disproportionate.”
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) says he will demand that the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee hold a special session on the matter, and MK Gilad Erdan (Likud) says he will act to ensure this occurs. Both are members of the current “temporary” Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee until the incoming government appoints the permanent committee.
Yossi Dagan, of the “Homesh First” settlement organization, released this statement: “The disgraceful provocation by the special unit police proves once again that for the goal of maligning the residents of Judea and Samaria, everything is permitted, including provocations, trickery, and violence. It is once again clear to all that those who come to hurt the [Jewish] settlement enterprise in the name of the ‘rule of law’ behave like the biggest criminals.”
The incident occurred shortly after Shomron residents began blocking roads in response to the police/army destruction of the start-up outpost neighborhood of Meoz Esther outside Kokhav HaShachar on Thursday.