Knesset nixes effort to probe Gilad Farm events

National Union chairman pinpoints Aharonovitch, and especially Barak, for criticism of their roles in operation.

Gilad farm ruins (R) 311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Gilad farm ruins (R) 311
(photo credit: Reuters)
A move by the National Union to establish a parliamentary probe into the events last month at the Gilad Farm was easily struck down on the Knesset floor Wednesday afternoon, with both coalition and opposition representatives voting together to defeat the bill by a vote of 29-3.
During his speech in support of the initiative, National Union Chairman Ya’acov Katz pinpointed Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, and especially Defense Minister Ehud Barak, for criticism of their roles in the operation.
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“There is no doubt that we need to clarify why, to destroy a tent and a shack under construction, 1,000 police officers and soldiers were necessary; what lurks behind these cruel instructions; who gave the orders, and who is responsible,” explained Katz, who sponsored the initiative.
Aharonovitch, Katz complained, had after the events at the outpost immediately given a report to the Knesset that was “imprecise, to use an understatement.” Katz implied that Aharonovitch had knowingly misled MKs regarding the degree of force used against residents of the Gilad Farm.
Right-wing activists claimed that 15 people had been injured by plastic bullets fired by security forces during the February 28 operation at the outpost.
Aharonovitch, in his report to the Knesset plenum, claimed that only 11 bullets were fired, and that none of those present had been injured.
A week after the incident, an internal police probe, led by a top officer in the Judea and Samaria District Police, concluded that security forces acted properly and according to regulations in dealing with settlers during the demolition of three structures at the site.
Katz, however, reserved his sharpest barbs for the defense minister, calling him a “corrupt dictator.”
“For over five years that he has been defense minister, to our great regret, the settler community has suffered under the defense minister, who has trampled heroes and pioneers of our nation, destroyed our houses, frozen our lives, abandoned our sons and our daughters and, indirectly, has given a hand to the murder of our sons and daughters, as happened this week in Itamar,” Katz complained.
“Barak’s behavior in recent years toward the residents of Judea and Samaria has been terrible. We feel this man wants to kick us all out of the area – all hundreds of thousands of us – going against the views of the nation in Zion, which elected Shas, Agudat Israel and Likud, and all the other groups that constitute the coalition,” complained Katz.
“Yesterday, the Knesset’s Land of Israel Lobby was in Itamar, and we heard their security officers say that the IDF forces in the area have been cut back, that checkpoints have been lifted, and that the Arabs feel everything is allowed them regarding the Jewish residents. The commander’s spirit trickles downward.”
Katz also accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu of succumbing to Barak’s influence.
“Everybody knows that the person who actually runs the country is not Netanyahu, but Barak,” he claimed.