When someone like Givati (affiliated with Uzi Landau himself) accuses settlers of "brutal acts" against Arabs, that's a bit like a
Mafia don trying to reign in his lieutenants - so writes an American Jewish activist of the recent events in Hebron.
July 30, 2002
Minister's aide calls Hebron riots a 'pogrom'
By Amos Harel and Jonathan Lis
Col. (res.) Moshe Givati, an adviser on settlement security for Public
Security Minister Uzi Landau, yesterday termed the rioting that took place
during the funeral of Elazar Leibowitz, "a pogrom against the Arabs of
Hebron, with no provocation on the Palestinian side."
Givati, who attended the funeral on Sunday, said he witnessed "brutal acts"
and rejected absolutely explanations by the Jewish Community of Hebron
Council spokesmen who said they were acting in self-defense against
Givati, who was commander of the Hebron brigade during the first intifada,
has good relations with the settlement movement leadership. He was appointed
six months ago by Landau to help smooth relations between the police and the
settlement community. Most of his efforts are in Hebron, where relations
between the police and the settlers are particularly strained.
Givati was in Hebron on Saturday night, in advance of the funeral for
Leibowitz, an army first sergeant killed in a Palestinian ambush on Friday
outside the city. The violence began already on Saturday night, he says, when
a group of Jewish youths invaded a Palestinian house in the city, and burned
and vandalized the possessions inside. Police and Border Patrol called to the
scene arrested three of the youths, who included Leibowitz's brothers. They
were released a few hours later.
Givati says the police and army deployed properly for the funeral, but at the
request of the settlers, the police maintained a low profile, letting the
other security forces - Israel Defense Forces troops - provide security for
the funeral procession.
The violence began after the takeover of the podium where eulogies were being
given in the garden outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs by a group of youths,
many of them friends of the Hebron-born Leibowitz. They began calling for
"At most, and I even doubt that, a small rock was thrown from the direction
of the Palestinian houses. And that was enough. It was the signal for the
thugs to charge," Givati said.
He said that "the Palestinians did not throw any rocks or boulders at the
funeral procession. There were 20 or 30 people, who were mostly not from
Hebron," he said. He said he suspects most are from the outposts in the area
of Itamar and Yitzhar. "For some reason they were all carrying army-issue
weapons, and they charged into the Palestinian houses.
"That's when the fracas began. I saw everything from very close range. There
were long bursts of fire by the Israelis - into the air and at the houses."
It was during that fire that 14-year-old Nibin Jamjum was killed by a bullet
to her head, and a Palestinian boy was stabbed. IDF sources say that these
two and the other wounded - 15 Palestinians in all were reported wounded, and
an equal number of police were hurt - were casualties of the Jewish violence.
"Dozens of thugs, including youths from Hebron, burst into Arab houses for no
reason. They broke windows, destoryed property and threw stones. These people
were there for the purpose of making a pogrom," said Givati.
Soldiers, police and Border Patrol troops who arrived on the scene tried to
arrest the rioters, but were attacked. "Police officers were beaten," Givati
said. "I am an alumnus of the first intifada and I never saw anything like
this. A dozen thugs knocked down a policeman and kicked at him."
The police arrested some of the rioters, but the police car carrying them out
was blocked by their friends, who damaged the police car. Boys and girls from
Hebron kept up a stream of curses at the soldiers. They were called "Amalek's
soldiers," and warned, "you're next."
Givati believes the police and army "were too restrained. Considering the
events, much more force should have been used. We cannot allow such harm to
the rule of law. It's inconceivable that soldiers and police be cursed that
way." He said that settlement leaders from outside the Hebron area were also
shocked by the level of violence displayed by the settlers in Hebron.
PA not cooperating
The police said yesterday that the Palestinian Authority police force is not
yet cooperating with an Israeli investigation into the rioting and the death
of the Palestinian girl. They said that two of the girl's brothers were also
wounded by gunfire, apparently when they tried to rescue their sister.
The police say the PA police have so far refused to hand over medical
forensic information from the wounded, which the police want to use to help
But despite the difficulties, police said they are proceeding with their
inquiry and that arrests are expected in the coming days. Although a
Jerusalem Magistrate's Court released four suspected settlers, two of whom
were minors, police are plowing through photographs of the riots, and