'Surprise led to swift evacuation'

Police were met with little resistance, but feared evacuees would attack Palestinians as revenge.

avshalom peled 248 88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
avshalom peled 248 88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
Some six hundred troops participated in the evacuation of a disputed building in Hebron on Thursday afternoon, in an operation that police commanders said was smoother and quicker than the evacuation of the Amona outpost in February 2006, due mainly to security forces surprising the settlers inside. "Had we not acted by surprise there would have been different results and more violence," Dep. -Com. Avshalom Peled, commander of Hebron Police said. Peled said that security forces found rocks, different chemicals, acids and tires, as well as paint-filled glass light bulbs in the house, all of which the settlers prepared in advance to fight the evacuating forces. On the second floor of the house potatoes with nails in them were found. Peled added that he was expecting people to try to return to the building, and said that in such a case Border Police would prepare and act accordingly. Some rooms were heavily damaged during the evacuation, but police encountered only sporadic resistance. The IDF said that it would issue a warning saying that anyone trying to return to the disputed house would be countered with full force. Commander of the Judea and Samaria Brigade, Brig. -Gen. Noam Tibon, declared Judea a closed military zone for an indefinite amount of time to prevent people from returning. Shlomo Katabi, commander of the Judea and Samaria Police, told The Jerusalem Post that the police feared settlers would try to attack Palestinians as a form of revenge for the evacuation. "We expect public disturbances throughout the Hebron area as well as throughout the West Bank," Katabi said, "and for those we are prepared."