Following another examination of the uniforms of policemen who claimed to have been hit by the substance during the evacuation, the police now say that no evidence of the material was found. Parents and other supporters of the indicted youths responded angrily, blaming the police, the prosecution and the media.
Miriam Goldfisher of Beit El, whose son was among the hundreds who were on the roof of the Kfar Darom synagogue during the resistance, told Arutz-7 that there are several scandalous aspects of the story:
* The police and prosecution released outright lies;
* indictments were indiscriminately handed down based on a person's presence at the site and not based on his actions;
* the media did not allow reporters to report certain facts, and more.
"Some 320 people were on the roof that day," Mrs. Goldfisher said. "We know that because that's how many people were taken down from there into buses and straight into jail - for a week or more. I know of over 100 indictments that have been handed down so far, and more and more keep trickling in. The language of the indictment is downright scandalous. In many cases, the boys are not accused of anything specific, but rather: 'As part of that crowd from which caustic soda was thrown on security forces, the accused supported, by his presence, the acts of violence.'"
"When the university students rioted, and injured policemen and caused traffic jams," Goldfisher said, "they weren't indicted for being 'part of the crowd,' but for specific actions... The ease with which the police and prosecution publicize false information is simply intolerable, and necessitates a commission of inquiry."
She blames the media as well. The main news story at the time of the expulsion from Kfar Darom - Thursday, August 18, 2005 - was the alleged throwing of caustic soda at the policemen. Goldfisher said that two reporters on the roof - one from Reshet Bet (Voice of Israel) and one from Channel Ten television - immediately reported live that there was no caustic soda there, "but they were quickly hushed-up by their home studios... Furthermore, we had two doctors who immediately checked the policemen who complained, and they said that the policemen were not hit by caustic soda."
A-7: "Then what were they hit by? It was reported that about ten policemen started screaming in pain and ripped off their shirts..."
Goldfisher: "We also had some boys who had the same symptoms. The police threw some blue-colored liquid or water on the boys on the roof, possibly so they could identify them better, and the boys threw it back at them."
MK Sha'ul Yahalom (National Religious Party) said that the police and State Prosecution had been "partners in one big blood libel," while MK Michael Eitan called for the establishment of a commission of inquiry.
"The revelation that no evidence of caustic soda was found on the policemen's clothes," Yahalom said, "is like the testimony of 1,000 witnesses that the [many] indictments - which apparently were just a result of politics and had nothing to do with reality - should be withdrawn."
MK Michael Eitan, Chairman of the Law Committee, has written to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz as follows: "To my regret, despite my repeated requests, the Prosecution filed indictments based on this false information. Now dozens of indictments have to be erased, and a commission of inquiry must be established to find out how this mishap occurred in the law enforcement network."
MK Eitan noted that the Law Committee is still waiting for explanations from Mazuz and the Prosecution as to the policy governing the way in which the indictments were handed down against resistors who engaged in passive resistance.
Yahalom noted that it has long been known that the accusations against the youths were false: "At our session of the Knesset Law Committee, with hospital experts who treated the policemen, it was clear that all the talk that lye had been thrown at them was one big lie."
Uri Ariel (National Union) said that Attorney General Mazuz should be fired:
"The man who stood behind the false arrest and dishonest indictments against the rooftop protestors of Kfar Darom, and who led a tendentious investigation and indictment against Avri Ran, and who thwarts every possible agreement in Hevron, and who drags the police and the IDF into difficult and unnecessary clashes - is not suitable to continue to stand at the helm of Israel's law enforcement system."
Orit Strook, head of the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Council's civil rights desk, said that the damage caused to the arrestees was significant, and included long incarceration, harm to their good name, prevention of their enlistment in the IDF, and financial expenses. The Yesha Civil Rights Organization is taking initial steps to collect all the relevant information and possibly file a suit against Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi, Attorney General Mazuz, and senior State Prosecution official Atty. Shai Nitzan.