Police: We acted appropriately at Gilad Farm demolition

Findings of internal Police investigation given to inspector-general; plastic bullets used after stones, glass bottles thrown at forces.

By REBECCA ANNA STOIL, JPOST.COM STAFF
March 7, 2011 01:18
3 minute read.
Police monitor protestors at Gilad Farm demolition

gilad farm demolition protest_311. (photo credit: Va'ad Mityashvei HaShomron)

 
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Police acted appropriately during last week’s demolition of three structures at the Gilad Farm outpost, an internal Israel Police report concluded on Sunday.

Settler representatives and right-wing MKs slammed the report, accusing police of intentionally covering up the true course of events at the Samarian outpost last Monday.

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The internal probe, led by a top officer in the Judea and Samaria Police, concluded that security forces acted properly and according to regulation in dealing with settlers during the demolition.

Settlers say police used excessive force, and particularly took offense at the use of firearms armed with less-than-lethal ammunition against the residents of the outpost. Fifteen people were reportedly injured during the altercations that erupted in the predawn hours, after large numbers of police officers arrived to help in the demolition of the three structures.

The report, presented to Israel Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen, said that a weapon called the FN303, which is defined as a “less-lethal automatic launcher,” was used by security forces.

“The FN303 was used at two points at which stones and glass bottles were thrown at forces while they attempted to make arrests. From the investigation of the officers who used the weapon, it was determined that they were properly trained and skilled, and flawlessly carried out their work,” the report concluded.



Samaria Regional Council Chairman Gershon Mesika blasted the document, saying “it proves more than anything the need to establish an external probe commission into police violence at Gilad Farm.”

Earlier on Sunday, Mesika participated in a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee’s Subcommittee on Judea and Samaria, during which MKs discussed last Monday’s events.

Settlers’ representatives brought pictures and videos filmed during the incident, which they said conclusively contradicted police accounts of the chain of events. Right-wing MKs were unimpressed with the police and IDF representatives’ answers during the hearing.

“The police were revealed during today’s hearing not just as a violent and corrupt body, but more importantly as a lying organization. A uniformed lieutenant- commander made a false report to a Knesset committee in terms of the actual facts, while trying to back up uniformed criminality that was utilized for political motives,” MK Arye Eldad (National Union) said. “Decades ago, the Shin Bet was in exactly this situation when it turned a culture of lying into a key tool and used it not just against Israel’s enemies, but also against IDF officers.”

Eldad added that Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Israel Beiteinu) “supports this culture of lying and is thus a full partner in it.

The Israel Police will not turn into what the Shin Bet turned into until heads roll, just as they did in the Shin Bet.”

Other lawmakers on the subcommittee said that they, too, were unsatisfied with the answers given by the security forces, and that the panel would hold a second meeting at which they expected the police representatives to come better prepared.

“If after all of the pictures, the videos and the testimonies that were presented to the committee, the police are still capable of presenting a ‘probe’ that is so absurd and removed from reality, it proves in the clearest possible manner that only an external probe committee will return the public’s faith in the police,” Mesika said later in the afternoon.

Melanie Lidman contributed to this report.

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