Top Yesha Council settler leaders have charged police officers with sexually harassing female protesters during last week's evacuation of the illegal West Bank outpost of Amona. The allegations were made public for the first time yesterday, during a two-hour meeting between Yesha officials and Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra.
Ezra rejected the Yesha leaders' request to form an inquiry committee to examine the sexual harassment charges. He said the Police Investigation Department in the Justice Ministry has already begun investigating the behavior of some of the police officers, and that Police Commissioner Moshe Karadi has ordered a general investigation of the evacuation.
Investigators will submit their conclusions in about two weeks, Ezra said. The probe comes in the wake of accusations that police used excessive force.
The settler officials - including Yesha Council of settlements chairman Bentzi Lieberman, Binyamin regional council head Pinchas Wallerstein and settler leader Hanan Porat - presented written eyewitness testimonials of the sexual harassment charges, as well as photographs.
The alleged harassment includes police officers attempting to touch female protesters in an inappropriate manner. In another incident, a policeman is accused of urinating near female protesters and rudely dismissing a policewoman who spoke to him about it.
Policemen are also accused of shouting at young women: "We are going to rape you," and a female protester reported that while a policeman was attempting to remove her from the site, he had yelled: "Whore, open your legs."
Until yesterday, the accusations had been made only in closed meetings.