right wing protest 298.
(photo credit: AP)
Tens of thousands of right-wing demonstrators thronged the streets of downtown Jerusalem Sunday night, calling for a state commission of inquiry into the excessive use of force by police at the Amona settlement outpost last week.
The theme of the rally was "Olmert is bad for the Jews," referring to Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The demonstration, the largest of its kind since the Gaza Strip evacuation last summer, was organized by the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
The crowd, predominantly religious teenagers, repeatedly called on the government to establish a commission inquiring into what they called "the brutal police violence" during the Amona clashes, in which more than 200 people were injured.
"When we arrive at a situation where Jews are fighting Jews, and the country is fighting its own people, something is wrong and we have to stand up and say something," said Racheli Shoshan, 18, from Neveh Daniel in Gush Etzion.
"Olmert and Kadima are responsible for Hamastan" and "End Police Brutality" were among the placards in the sea of protesters at Zion Square.
Most of the protest was directed at Olmert, who was accused of causing a civil war.
"Ehud ran away. He wanted to see blood and fire. He wanted to see the blood of Jews," said National Union MK Uri Ariel, who tore his shirt as a sign of mourning over the demolition of the nine stone homes in Amona.
"Instead of building [up] Ma'aleh Adumim, he transfers hundreds of millions of shekels to terrorist organizations," he said, referring to the government freeze on building in the E1 area linking Ma'aleh Adumim to Jerusalem and Sunday's decision to transfer NIS 250 million in taxes and customs duties - which Israel collects from Palestinian workers and merchants - to the Palestinian Authority.
Earlier Sunday, Olmert rejected calls from across the political spectrum for the establishment of a state commission of inquiry, saying that the police and the army had to be left out of the political debate.
"What I never would have believed in my worst dreams is that a Jewish police force would act the way they did," said Oren Amitai, 30, of Amona, whose illegal home was among those demolished. "What hurts most is that Jews did this."
"It is important that people see the support of the youth and quit seeing everything though the television lens," said Racheli Eldad, 17, of Jerusalem.
"Our generation will not give up and let the government give land that God gave us to the enemy who wants to kill us," said Ohio-born Rachel Reinbach, 18, of Jerusalem.