Police Seek to Indict 22 Settlers Who Violently Protested at Evictions

But the police are being lenient toward the apparent worst offenders at Amona and Ofra the demonstrators who barricaded themselves in the Amona synagogue

Pro-settlement activists gather in a house in the settlement of Ofra during an operation by Israeli forces to demolish nine homes there, February 28, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

The police recommend the indictment of 22 Israelis for disturbing the peace at Amona and Ofra when residents of those two West Bank settlements were evicted in February to demolish buildings put up illegally on Palestinian land.

All the residents of the illegal outpost Amona were evicted, as were the residents of nine buildings at Ofra.

The police, however, say they will not recommended charges against the protesters who barricaded themselves inside the Amona synagogue, despite the clashes with the security forces there.

No less than 17 policemen were mildly injured at the synagogue, the last building at Amona to be evacuated, the police say. From the synagogue, settlers and protesters threw sticks, paint and other objects at the police, who say four of their number needed hospital treatment, including one for chemical burns and one with a dislocated shoulder.

The evacuation of the synagogue was the only time during the Amona evacuation that the police had to wear helmets. After the violence at the synagogue, Moshe Barkat, the head of the police in the West Bank, pledged to bring to justice anyone who attacked the force at Amona, especially at the synagogue.

A settler reacting as police evict settlers from the West Bank outpost of Amona, February 2, 2017.
Tsafrir Abayov/AP

The police say evidence is a problem, though the settlers who locked themselves in the synagogue were taken out one by one, ostensibly making their identification easy.

The police, however, want charged the people who stood on the roof of the last of the nine houses evacuated in Ofra.

Honenu, a group representing a number of settlers arrested in Amona and Ofra, says the suspects still have not been informed of the looming indictments.