Olmert: This is violence, not ideology

OC Central Command says youth in Amona "disengaging from the state."

amona destruction 298 (photo credit: Channel 10)
amona destruction 298
(photo credit: Channel 10)
OC Central Command, Maj.- Gen. Yair Naveh said Wednesday evening following the completion of the Amona evacuation, that "the youth that came to Amona are youth that are disengaging from the state; the disengagement is theirs. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert accused demonstrators at the Amona outpost of exerting violence for political reasons, adding that the political interests of some Yesha leaders were behind the events at Amona. "We are seeing violence for the sake of violence, not ideology," said Olmert.
Head of the Binyamin Regional Council Pinhas Wallerstein described the evacuation of Amona on Wednesday as the most severe violence he had ever encountered. In an Army Radio interview, Wallerstein insisted that the violence was mutual. He insisted that local leadership was expending much effort at stopping youths from throwing stones at security forces. Wallerstein warned that "If there is not going to be a respite, then blood will be shed." Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz defended the security forces' use of force against violent protesters as they attempted to evacuate the outpost. In an interview with Army Radio, he said that "the determination of the activists in the area stems from lack of choice," and added that the size of the force present was directly related to the number of protestors on the scene. According to Mofaz, the evacuation of Amona would be completed on Wednesday. He also noted that the timing of the evacuation had nothing to do with the March 28 elections. Cmdr. Israel Yitzhak, Judea and Samaria police chief, backed the defense minister's statement, accusing the settler leaders of failing to control their public before and during the evacuation. He repeatedly insisted that it was the settlers who were violent, and that police only responded to that violence. "The police are enforcing the law," he said, defending his forces. Explaining how thousands of protesters were allowed to arrive at Amona, Yitzhak told Israel Radio that the area could not have been completely surrounded and isolated. On the other hand, righ wing leaders from blamed Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for using the violent evacuation for political gain ahead of the upcoming elections. National Union MK Arieh Eldad accused Olmert of "wanting to see blood in order to appear as a strong prime minister." Yesha Council head Benzi Lieberman and MK Uri Ariel made similar accusations. Lieberman claimed that the security forces who participated in the evacuation were preparing to use violence long before Wednesday morning. On the left side of the political map, MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) was horrified by the violence, but said that its level would have been much lower had the defense establishment not dragged its feet in the evacuation process. "The rule of law must dominate in Judea and Samaria," Herzog stated. Meretz called on the state to bring the violent demonstrators to justice, using determination, but not sensitivity - a reference to the determination and sensitivity slogan of August's disengagement from Gaza and northern Samaria. Some settlers accused security forces of using "unprecedented violence" against them. Orit Kaspi, head of Amona, accused the state of declaring a civil war, but insisted that [the settlers and the residents of Amona] would not let that happen. Yuval Kertzner, one of the leaders in Amona vowed that the residents would begin rebuilding their homes starting next week. MK Effi Eitam, who was moderately wounded by a horse during the violence, said "30 years I fought on the battle fields, and I never believed that I would be wounded by a Jewish policeman while I was doing my duty as a member of Knesset."