Tuesday, November 01, 2005

First hand acounts on the maoz hayam expolusion


I still find it hard to put my feelings into writing, Hopefully this week sometime i will. Till then read some first hand acounts from Ya'acov of Beit Shemesh, via Emet News Service

1) My encounter with the police was chilling. They were not violent to me, personally, I did not resist and was carried away briskly but without violence. The same cannot be said for others. However, the police -- two in particular -- refused to identify themselves; they refused to tell me whether I was meukav (detained) or atzur (arrested); they refused to say where they were taking me. All of this is disturbing enough (because essentially it is like you have been kidnapped. Police must identify themselves, badge # etc . . . ). The looks on some of their faces was what really disturbed me. Blank looks. I believe these were the 'Yasam' ones.
2) The police I saw were all armed. They entered the hotel in SWAT team style, with machine guns in prepared posture, helmeted, with ladders, crowbars and sledge hammers. Those who carried me away were carrying pistols. I thought the police had agreed that those doing the gerush (eviction) would not be armed? What if in the pressured situation, amidst the screams and crying, some unbalanced individual [or government plant, a la Avishai Raviv, for that matter] -- were to grab one of their guns and start shooting? The guns were within easy reach. Why did they come in with guns?
3) Why were religious teenage young women who were not resisting, who had tied their own hands and were sitting passively (although crying), handled roughly and carried away by male policemen? There has always been a policy to use female police for that purpose. There was certainly no shortage of manpower, and I did see some female police. Was this a policy decision?
4) For all the mantra-like repetition of 'extremists' and 'extremist hotel' in the media (it does seem that they all get told what words to use), even the 'hilltop youth' and Kahanistim responded immediately to the requests of the leadership at the hotel, and came down from the roof tops where they had been barricading themselves with barbed wire, tires, food etc. They agreed to adopt nonviolent means. Otherwise it would have taken many hours or days to remove them. This moderation is the only reason that there were not serious injuries or even deaths at the hotel, and why it was so easy and fast for the police to remove everyone. The police SWAT invasion of a private hotel, breaking the law by not identifying themselves etc, was 'extreme'" The people at the hotel were models of restraint and moderation in my opinion.
All of the problems with police conduct I have mentioned, when dealing with people who were showing tremendous restraint while being ripped, mothers and babies, from their homes (remember: families have been living in the hotel for years), has the effect of radicalizing the opposition, and increasing exponentially the risk of severe violence.
A father sees his wife and infant child being roughly removed from their home by a blankly-staring policeman in a ridiculous space-man SWAT outfit, while his religious teenage daughter is being manhandled by other male police -- they are pushing this person to the limit. I'm frankly surprised that no one has seriously attacked the police, and judging from the way the police came in, I think they are also surprised.
I will never forget the little girl happily riding her bike around the hotel courtyard -- perhaps the only home she has ever known--shortly before the Israeli SWAT teams stormed in -- literally -- to drag her and her parents onto buses, to drop them many miles away on a secluded highway, some barefoot, and *without water* in the Negev sun. I saw this with my two eyes, which are teary as I write this.
Because someone decided Jews can't live there anymore. We will never forget this.
With blessings,Ya'acov, Beit Shemesh

One woman who was forcibly evacuated spoke with ARUTZ-7, and said, "They took us by bus to a place around 40 minutes away - and they just dropped us off! In the middle of nowhere, they told us to get back ourselves!" She said that she was able to hitch a ride back to Gush Katif, and because of her ID card showing that she is an official resident of the area, was allowed in.

One woman who was in the hotel with her husband and children told Israel Radio she lost track of her 7-year-old son during the chaos.
"I lost my whole family in the Holocaust. What did we come here for? What did we build a family for?" said the woman, who gave her last name as Drori and held her 1-year-old baby in her arms.

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