vrijdag 5 december 2008

'Huis van Vrede' in Hebron ontruimd door IDF

Eindelijk heeft Israel laten zien dat het in staat is de wet te handhaven - ook tegenover extreem gewelddadige kolonisten die met een burgeroorlog dreigen. Men heeft geprobeerd het anders op te lossen, maar de vele gewelddadige incidenten van de afgelopen dagen lieten zien dat dat er niet in zat. Nu is gedaan wat nodig was, maar daarmee is de rust allerminst weergekeerd. Het leger moet er op toe zien dat de kolonisten hun frustraties niet - zoals gisteren al gebeurde - bot gaan vieren op de Palestijnen.
Hieronder 4 berichten uit de Jerusalem Post (met dank aan MidEast Web ).
The Jerusalem Post
Dec 3, 2008 12:29 | Updated Dec 4, 2008 19:04
Hebron house evacuation completed

A large police force evacuated the disputed Beit Hashalom building in Hebron on Thursday afternoon which took approximately an hour and a half. Clashes between right-wing activists and security forces were reportedly continuing in the vicinity of the disputed house following the evacuation.

The decision to evacuate the house was made after a meeting between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Yesha Council leaders earlier in the day failed to reach a compromise.

Dozens of police entered the building Thursday afternoon, while other police formed a line in front with shields to prevent demonstrators from disrupting the activity.

Police made a statement saying seven people were hurt in the evacuation, two policemen and five civilians.

Minutes after police entered the building, protesters began to come out. Some walked out, while others were dragged or carried by security forces. Demonstrators at the scene had a much higher count, claiming that at least 20 people had been wounded just ten minutes into the operation. A young girl, was carried away on a stretcher, at which point teenage onlookers yelled at the soldiers "you are partners to a crime!"

One police officer suffered moderate to serious wounds by flour thrown at his eyes. He was quickly evacuated to a hospital in Jerusalem. Initially security forces thought he was hit by powdered acid, but in the hospital the powder turned out to be flour.

At one point during the evacuation, soldiers entered the portion of the building which had been used as a sanctuary by the Jewish occupants, and where 20 to 30 people were praying. Police began to pull out the protesters as they yelled, "God is one."

As police cleared away the last of the teens from the synagogue, other officers in a nearby hallway began to kick in a wall that leads to an apartment where a family has lived for the past year and a half. Once the wall was destroyed, police led out a number of women who were holding small children in their arms.

On a road in between the disputed house and the West Bank village of Kiryat Arba, a number of Jewish teenagers attempted to link up with the demonstrators at Beit Hashalom. Border police tried to disperse the youth with stun grenades and tear gas. The teenagers also exchanged rocks with Palestinian children standing on the roofs of the houses in the valley between the Hebron house and the West Bank village.

Dozens of youths from a nearby Kiryat Arba yeshiva started throwing stones at a Palestinian house causing the inhabitants to come out of the structure. Another man from Kiryat Arba carrying an M-16 started shooting at a gathering Palestinian crowd nearby, wounding two men, one in the arm and one in the chest. They were being treated at the scene by army medics awaiting evacuation to hospital.

The alleged assailant ran off. No arrests had yet been made.

At another point during the clashes, security forces began to push protesters down a small hill into the main road using large sticks.

IDF officers from the Central Command said an order was given to evacuate the protesters "with the utmost sensitivity, but we will use force if we are met with violence."

Meanwhile, a very large convoy of IDF vehicles was making its way to the scene by way of Road 60, in the West Bank.

The office of the defense minister issued a statement shortly after the operation began in which he said that the evacuation was ordered "after all the dialogue failed and after meetings with Yesha leaders did not bring resolution."

Further, Barak called on the leaders in the settler community to ensure that there was no violence during the evacuation.

Earlier on Thursday, Barak and leaders from the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip met to discuss the evacuation of the Hebron house.

At the end of the meeting, Barak told Yesha leaders that "settler leaders and the inhabitants of Beit Hashalom must abide by the law and evacuate the house as instructed by an existing court ruling while simultaneously going to a hastened court proceeding over the future of the house."

The defense minister also said that the IDF would assume control of the house until the ownership claims are settled in court.

Yesha leaders reiterated that a peaceful solution could be found, one that avoided further violence and expressed hope that Barak would not miss the opportunity to do everything possible to reach a compromise.

On Thursday morning, the meeting between the two sides was held in hopes of reaching a compromise that would avert the evacuation of the house.

Defense officials said Thursday's meeting was the "last chance" Barak planned to give the settlers before ordering the IDF and the Israel Police to use force to evacuate the building.

Barak insisted Wednesday night that he planned to evacuate the house even as settler leaders tried to negotiate a compromise and politicians, including those on the Right, sharply criticized the violent tactics of the activists who have streamed into the city to defend the structure.

"We will not allow a small group of extremists to undermine the state's authority," Barak told Channel 2. "The [High Court of Justice's eviction] order will be implemented within the time frame set by the court."

He spoke as right-wing activists clashed with security personnel in Hebron for the fourth day in a row, causing border policemen to don riot gear and throw stun grenades at those who had lobbed stones at them.

Israeli media outlets reported on Thursday that Defense Ministry officials secretly met late Wednesday night with settlers inside the Hebron house in effort to come to a last-minute arrangement which would both avert a bloody evacuation, and keep with the ruling of the High Court of Justice.

Barak, officials said, had already been presented with the operational plans for an evacuation that would include more than 2,000 policemen and soldiers operating in several circles around Beit Hashalom. Police would be tasked with the actual evacuation from the home, and the IDF would prevent additional activists from reaching the area.

On November 16 the High Court ruled that the state could evacuate the building even though its ownership had yet to be resolved by the Jerusalem District Court.

The Jewish Community of Hebron, which in March 2007 moved nine families into the structure on Worshipers' Way, at the edge of the city near Kiryat Arba, says it bought the building for close to $1 million. The Palestinian seller has said that no such transaction took place.

The Jerusalem Post
Dec 4, 2008 16:49 | Updated Dec 4, 2008 19:38
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."

The Jerusalem Post
Dec 4, 2008 19:30 | Updated Dec 4, 2008 20:42
Barak praises Hebron house evacuation

Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday evening commended security forces for the evacuation of Beit Hashalom in Hebron and called for restraint.

"I call upon every leader with clout to exert his influence so that things do not deteriorate further," Barak said at a press conference.

"We had no choice" but to go forward with the evacuation, the defense minister continued; "any other attitude would have been a betrayal of my job.

"A defense minister in Israel has no choice but to ensure that the law is upheld; without that we won't have a state," he continued. "We are only a hair's breadth from utter anarchy."

President Shimon Peres on Thursday evening also commended security forces on the evacuation of Beit Hashalom in Hebron, saying that they had acted with "sense and responsibility."

"In order to safeguard its constitution and security, the state must sometimes take difficult measures," Peres said. "In this instance there was no escaping the difficult steps that were taken by defense forces. I commend the government and security forces for making a difficult decision and carrying it out with sense and responsibility."

"There is no joy in what we say today, the events are saddening, but it must be said that the process that took place today was correct," Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said at the opening of Kadima's security forum in Tel Aviv. "The time that passed since the start of the events at the disputed house only made things worse."

"There is no place and will be no place in which citizens may feel they can do as they please," she continued. "Nobody can harm a soldier or policeman."

But on the right wing, reactions criticized Barak's decision to evacuate the Hebron house as politically motivated.

"It's a shame that someone has an interest in setting Hebron alight," MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud) asserted Thursday evening, several hours after hundreds of police stormed the disputed building and cleared it of its inhabitants.

"Barak chose a political evacuation when he could have employed wisdom and justice and waited for the legal situation to clear up."

The Jerusalem Post
Dec 4, 2008 16:46 | Updated Dec 4, 2008 20:46
Fearing spread of riots, IDF declares Hebron a military zone

As the evacuation of the disputed Beit Hashalom house in Hebron began Thursday afternoon, Jewish youths from Kiryat Arba made their way across the valley and through the fence and started lighting fires, throwing stones at Palestinian homes, knocking down satellite dishes and torching olive trees.

A Palestinian man who lives near Beit Hashalom and identified himself as Majd told The Jerusalem Post that a few days ago he saw Jewish youths cut the fence for easier access to Palestinian olive groves in preparation for the revenge planned in the wake of the evacuation. He also claimed that these youths set the laundry hanging outside his house on fire.

Earlier Thursday, a Kiryat Arba man opened fire on a Palestinian crowd, wounding 2 people. The man allegedly used rubber bullets and the wounded, a man in his late sixties with an arm injury and a man in his fifties with a chest injury, were evacuated to a hospital in Hebron. Palestinian sources said that the shooter fired live rounds.

Meanwhile, mobs of Jewish youths were still making their way across the valley lighting fires and causing damage to Palestinian property in an effort to extort a 'price tag' for the forced evacuation of Beit Hashalom and create a diversion for the soldiers and police forces.

Channel 2 reported that there was an exchange of fire heard in Hebron, potentially involving settlers and Palestinians. The station also reported that Palestinians were setting alight Jewish houses in Tel Rumeida, near Hebron.

The IDF declared the Hebron and the surrounding are a military zone.

At the entrance to Jerusalem on Highway 1, young teenagers were blocking the road, throwing stones and shouting slogans in condemnation of the state's evacuation of the Hebron building, causing serious congestion on the capital's main entrance at the height of rush hour.

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