Israel – Residents of the settlement outpost Mitzpe Avihai near Kiryat Arba have released video footage showing a Border Guard dragging a young man by his side-locks. The settlers claimed that during the demolition of the buildings, security forces directed violence against families and youths who came out of the buildings slated for demolition. The demolition early Thursday morning also led to “price tag” acts of revenge against Palestinians.
Civil Administration forces and police came to the outpost where some 30 young people lived who claimed the police threw stones and acted wildly. The six buildings, including a synagogue, were demolished, and violent confrontations broke out. Security forces reported that the incident passed relatively quietly, except for a case of stones being thrown at the IDF jeep of the deputy brigade commander. The families who lived in the buildings claimed that serious violence had been directed against them and against their children.
The settlers filed claims at the police internal investigation department. According to one claim, a youth aged 14 was kicked in the stomach by a police officer, while his brother, aged 17, was also attacked and dragged by his side-locks for merely filming the events. According to the charge, their mother was also attacked. According to another claim, another youth was struck on his head, choked and beaten.
The settlers also said police had not displayed identification tags, and that when the mother of the two youths came to submit a complaint about the incident, Hebron police arrested the two. The mother told Ynet on Thursday evening that the family lives in Otniel. Because her son is just 14 and was staying in the outpost when rumors of the evacuation came, she came with her other son to collect him. When he had been found, they went out to photograph the remains of the synagogue.
“We took pictures,” the mother related. “There were youths there with masked faces who annoyed a Border Guard officer, it seems, who took it out on my son. He suddenly appeared and dragged him a hundred meters by his side-locks, hurting his back. I tried to ask him to leave him alone and explain that he wasn’t involved, but he pushed me brutally down.”
When she came to file a claim against the violence, she says, the officer who had attacked her son recognized her, and decided on a different version of story with his comrades. According to his version, it was the youths who attacked the police. After more than 10 hours at the police station, the two brothers were brought to the Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court to have their detention extended.
“The one who brutally attacked is blaming the victim,” the mother said. “The police officer should be kept away from serving against Jews and against Arabs. It is forbidden to act like that with human beings. All my life I have taught my children not to act violently.”
During the incident Thursday, four people were detained for questioning. In response to the demolition, the settlers said, they set alight nearby crops belonging to Palestinians and threw stones at Palestinian houses as part of the “price tag” policy. On Thursday evening they already declared they were working on rebuilding the outpost, also known as Hilltop 18.
“We are working hard to rebuild the settlement, adopting a policy of expansion against the destruction,” said Arieh Davis, who was evacuated with his wife and children from the outpost. He added that Defense Minister Ehud Barak would not be permitted to sacrifice the settlement enterprise.