Karadi: Amona evacuation was bad for us all

Tells 'Post' that February '06 incident was biggest failure of his tenure; says police could have taken steps to reduce tension at scene.

amona clashes 298.88  (photo credit: AP [file])
amona clashes 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The results of the police's evacuation of the illegal structures at the Amona outpost "were not good for anyone - not for us the police, not for the people of Israel and not for the state of Israel," outgoing Police Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi told The Jerusalem Post Thursday in an interview summing up his 28 years of police service. Karadi, who officially left the force a week ago, called the February 2006 incident the biggest failure during his tenure as inspector-general, saying that "in retrospect, the evacuation of Amona should have been carried out differently." He said he did not hold the police solely responsible for the violence that erupted during the evacuation, but said they could have taken steps to reduce the tension at the scene. "I think that both from an operational perspective, as well as from the perspective of maintaining dialogue, that we could have managed things differently, and this is a lesson that we should learn." "Amona was an instance of enforcing the law, and if we hadn't carried it out the result would be much worse in its implications for the rule of law. Nevertheless, the results of the evacuation demand that we do soul-searching, both for us and for the local leadership." Karadi also discussed the numerous investigations of public figures during his tenure, including those of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, justice minister Haim Ramon and Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson, arguing that probes into such individuals showed that they were almost as frequently victims of a politically motivated witch-hunt rather than criminals. "Most of the investigations that fall into this category never even reach the public eye, because following an undercover probe, there is no justification for opening an overt investigation. I am referring to local government, where among mayors and other public leaders we have run into quite a few attempts to fight political battles via police investigation," he said. "They try to take advantage of the police to harm people through the daily procedures of an ivestigation," Karadi explained. "It's not pleasant to be questioned. Entering a police station with cameras in you face is not pleasant at all, and one cannot forget that behind every suspect is a long line of people, particularly his family. And because of that, investigations must be, on the one hand, very professional and on the other, very sensitive." Karadi said he had concluded that many investigations tend to be drawn out, adding that in closed door session, he had advocated setting time limits for certain types of investigations. But he noted that sometimes the length of the investigation could benefit the suspect when, after reviewing the testimony, police discover evidence indicating that there was no justification for an indictment. Overall, however, Karadi said that the police had proven itself in maintaining strict objectivity in pursuing high-profile cases. "We tend to self-flagellate and say that we are a corrupt country, but in fact we should be proud that we have police that do not take into consideration the status of a personality, but rather investigates when it deems it to be correct and appropriate," he said.