Monday, January 16, 2006


For the first time, Israel's military has been given authorization to use live fire against Jewish protesters. Israeli security sources said military and police commanders have been given permission to use live fire to repel attacks by Jewish residents andtheir supporters in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The Jews, who have so far avoided the use of firearms, have been protesting government plans to expel11 families from an unauthorized neighborhood. "We are always concerned about this possibility [of using live fire]," Police Asst. Comm. Shlomo Efrati said. "The main problem is youngsters, violators of the law, who have come to the city over the last few days."

The sources said the decision came in wake of briefings to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz and acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that Jewish protesters were endangering the lives of Israeli troops in the city. Mofaz and Olmert were told that the militants were guided by rabbis who opposed the dismantling of Jewish communities in the West Bank. "In recent days, extremist elements have violently attacked security forces personnel who came to enforce the law in Hebron," Olmert told the Cabinet on Sunday. "The government will notcountenance the wild and unrestrained behavior that has taken place in recent days, especially last night in Hebron."

Olmert said he has ordered Israeli security chiefs to "act assertivelyin preventing the continuation of such phenomena." He warned that "whoeverraises his hand [against Israeli officers] will be severely punished." He did not elaborate. Hours later, an estimated 500 police and soldiers streamed into Hebron with horses, water cannons and anti-riot gear. Witnesses said police fired stun grenades and tear gas toward Jewish protesters. There were no reports of serious injuries.

In another incident, a military brigade commander, Col. MordechaiBaruch, cocked his weapon and pointed it toward Jewish youngsters, some of them wearing masks to avoid identification. The commander later said theprotesters were threatening his troops. "In the course of the events, the officer was protecting his soldiers,"the military said in a statement. Over the weekend, Jewish protesters hurled rocks, paint and eggs towardIsraeli soldiers and torched or ransacked several Palestinian stores andapartments. In response, anti-riot police and soldiers struck youngsters with rifle butts in the Jewish quarter of Avraham Avinu. Security sources said the military was considering declaring Hebron aclosed zone, and police and military units planned to expel Jewishnon-residents from the city. They said elite units, including commandos,were being prepared for the evacuation of the unauthorized Jewishneighborhood over the next few days.

For his part, Mofaz called on the Jewish leadership in Hebron to ease tensions "before it is too late." The defense minister announced plans to establish a bolstered police command in Hebron and enact tougher measures against Jewish protesters.

He also ordered another 250 police officers to deploy in the city. "Police and army numbers in Hebron have been reinforced and have been ordered to act firmly," a Defense Ministry statement said on Monday. "Mr. Mofaz has decided to evacuate them from the wholesalers' market in Hebron and will not be intimidated by outlaws."


At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

sick motherfucker bastards they should all go to hell!


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