Ezra: Car burning not factor in decision

Internal security minister defends prohibition of police testimony on Amona.

amona riot gear 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
amona riot gear 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Internal Security Minister Gideon Ezra confirmed Sunday morning that the burning of a top police officer's car on Friday was not the basis of his decision to forbid police commanders from testifying before the parliamentary committee investigating the Amona evacuation. In an interview with Army Radio, Ezra said that he had already made the decision a day earlier. "On Thursday, I decided that because this committee is entirely political, the only thing that the committee is looking for is contradictions. I decided that I will appear before the committee and tell the version of the story as it happened," Ezra said. Committee members were reportedly furious at Ezra and have threatened that on Monday, they will reveal the "real personal reason" that, according to committee members, Ezra prohibited the officers' testimony. They said that the prohibition was based upon an attempt to defend the minister's personal honor and respect and not upon an attempt to defend the police. The Internal Security Ministry adamantly denied that claim. Last week, Chief of General Staff Dan Halutz testified before the committee, and, in his testimony, contradicted statements made by Ezra when he said that the forces had planned on arriving on foot at the site of the evacuation. Ezra said in his testimony that the decision had been based upon the fact that the approach to the outpost was blocked to vehicular traffic by protester and that, as a result, the soldiers and police were tired by the time they arrived at the evacuation site, which was at the top of a steep hillside.