Olmert: I Am Shamed by Hebron Settlers' Pogrom

PM says he told defense establishment 'to do all it takes, with all the strength needed' to stop such attacks.

Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday lashed out at settlers in Hebron who attacked Palestinians and their property in recent days, joining other Israeli figures in branding the attacks a "progrom."

Settlers in the West Bank city went on a rampage after Israel Defense Forces evicted dozens of them from a building whose ownership is disputed. The move came after Israel's High Court ordered that the settlers leave the building, dubbed the "House of Contention."

"We are the children of a people whose historic ethos is built on the memory of pogroms," Olmert said during the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem. "The sight of Jews firing at innocent Palestinians has no other name than pogrom."

"I am ashamed that Jews could do such a thing," Olmert went on. "I have asked the defense minister and other relevant elements to do all it takes, with all the strength needed and in any place controlled by the State of Israel, in order to stop this phenomenon."

Video footage supplied by the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem shows a settler firing shots at Palestinian rock-throwers from close range, hitting two of them. A second settler is also seen opening fire.

"I have turned to the appropriate elements in order to assure that law enforcement authorities will take aggressive and sharp action to bring those responsible to justice," Olmert said Sunday.

Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann also slammed the attacks as a pogrom, in a television interview over the weekend.

Palestinians said that 17 Palestinians were wounded in the clashes, five of them by gunfire. The two settlers caught on film have turned themselves in to police.