Former policeman describes violence during Amona evacuation

Forces were told to use clubs 'if necessary'.

The police who evicted settlers from permanent structures in the illegal outpost of Amona in February 2006 were instructed to club protesters if necessary, a former police officer told Jerusalem Magistrate's Court in a brief made known to the public on Tuesday. The brief was brought to the attention of the media by Orit Struck, head of the Human Rights in Judea and Samaria organization, who maintained that the statement, coming from a policeman who took part in the evacuation, proved that the police had planned in advance to use violence against the settlers. The brief also described severe violence on the part of the protesters. It was submitted by Mordechai Mehager, former head of a Special Forces police unit, who took part in the eviction of protesters from two of the buildings. He is facing a lawsuit filed by Yishai Greenbaum, a protester in one of the buildings which evacuated by Mehager. Greenbaum accused Mehager of beating him with a club. "The order to use clubs was given to [Mehager] and his men by officers of all ranks, including the command directly above him and the higher command," wrote Mehager's lawyers in the brief. "An order in the same spirit was given by the operations officer of the Yarkon sub-district, Dep.-Cmdr. Ilan Mor, who was in charge of the operation. After the mounted police retreated, Mor gave an explicit order [to use clubs.]" Mehager's brief, however, also portrayed the protesters as being extremely violent. His lawyers wrote that "the violent mob began throwing stones and rocks of various sizes, building blocks, bricks, iron rods, bottles and all kinds of other objects, apparently in the hope that if enough police were wounded badly enough, it could stop the evacuation." Also in the brief, Mehager described how he entered the room in which the plaintiff, Greenbaum, was demonstrating. He said he asked a protester in the first row to get up and leave the building and extended his hand to help him up. "The guy started to go wild and kicked [Mehager,]" the lawyers wrote. "The demonstrators started to shout that they would not leave, called him a 'Nazi' and waved their legs. They had poured a great deal of oil on the floor in order to cause injury to police as they entered the room. At this point, [Mehager] started using his club. [He had] orders not to leave the building until it was empty, and also knew that some of his men were standing outside under a barrage of rocks, stones and other objects, and were being injured one by one."