Top West Bank Police Officer: We Avoided Faceoff With Settlers, Fearing Political Pressure

Senior Judea and Samaria District Police officer says decision not to use force in deployment to raze house in illegal outpost of Alei Ain Wednesday made out of concern over political backlash against police.

Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson
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Chaim Levinson
Chaim Levinson

Judea and Samaria District Police decided not to use means for dispersing demonstrations during the razing of a home in an illegal outpost because they were concerned about "pressures from politicians," according to a senior officer.

Early Wednesday morning police deployed Border Police and riot control police in order to raze an illegal building in the outpost of Alei Ain. The outpost, northeast of Shilo, comprises a single home. The building was razed a number of times in the past and has been rebuilt each time.

Lt. Col. Akoa’s patrol car burning near the Alon Route yesterday morningCredit: Yitzhak Levinson

It is unknown how the settlers got word of the police plans, but reinforcements soon arrived from nearby settlements to assist the couple living there, and prepared to disrupt the police deployment. The surprised police were met with stiff resistance including stone throwing, which resulted in light injuries to seven officers. Only after four hours of shoving and blows did the police manage to reach the home, and a bulldozer brought the building down.

Eye witnesses said that Border Policemen threw stones at them, lightly injuring two. At a different incident, in Bil'in, a Border Policeman was caught on camera throwing stones back at demonstrators.

The chairman of the Binyamin Settlers' Committee, Lt. Col. (res. ) Itzik Shadmi, said yesterday that "Ehud Barak is jealous of the applause Netanyahu received in the U.S. and apparently he decided to remind everyone that he too knows to harm Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria."

"It is best to use violence and arms to destroy the homes of the enemies of Israel and let settlers live their lives. For many months the residents of Alei Ain have suffered from the Arabs' irritation and acts of sabotage. It is unfortunate that Barak decided to join them instead of supporting the settlers," he added.

After the operation was over the settlers went to the junction of the Alon Route east and Route 60 west, to hurl stones at Palestinian cars.

The patrol car of Lt. Col. Yoram Akoa, commander of the Binyamin police station, was in the area and its window were broken. Then a fire bomb set the vehicle alight, destroying it. Other police vehicles were damaged by stones. The police arrested six suspects in the attack.

A senior Judea and Samaria Police District officer said yesterday that plastic bullets were not fired, as was done during the razing of Havat Gilad on February 28, because the police had concluded that even though they do not pose any danger, it would cause a political backlash that would harm the police.



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