The Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, headed by MK Ram Ben Barak, discussed yesterday (Tuesday) the treatment of the security forces in Judea and Samaria with violence by Israeli extremists.
The committee chairman opened by saying: I know that this has been an emotionally, politically and historically charged issue for about a century.
Since we are there and there are Israelis and Palestinians, some in the area who are under Israeli security responsibility, I want to make sure that the Israel Police and the IDF and the security forces work to maintain order and security of the residents in the area.
Today’s discussion will focus on the violence of extremist Jewish elements against Palestinians. I am aware that the vast majority of the settlers in the area are law-abiding, so I emphasize that these are Jewish extremists. The videos coming from the area in recent weeks show an alarming increase in the number of cases of violence that have no place. As you know, I scheduled a discussion at the request of my friend, MK Nir Orbach, regarding violence against Jews in the Judea and Samaria area, and we will discuss this at the next meeting on the subject.
I want to preserve the culture of the debate, and I also want to remember that the IDF, the Israel Police and the General Security Service are state and professional bodies. Their job is to carry out the tasks that the Israeli government imposes on them flawlessly, with professionalism while conducting difficult operational operations on the ground. I ask all of us to keep these bodies out of the political debate. I will not allow the IDF, the Israeli police and the GSS to be dragged into the political debate, even if they make mistakes on the ground, and that is what the discussion is about today.
Despite the chairman’s request, the debate was very heated, and Knesset members shouted and erupted at the words of their members throughout.
MK Michal Rosin: Before the defense establishment published, in the first half of 2021, more than 400 cases of crime against Jews against Palestinians were documented, and in 2020, over 500. Do the authorities close their eyes to this, let alone cooperate with the rioters? Open the head of an almost four-year-old boy is the face of the State of Israel?
MK Nir Orbach: When you write violence in Judea and Samaria on Google, most of the articles that pop up are violence against Palestinians, but this is because there is a scheduled system and a sponsored campaign. Left-wing organizations work overtime to document soldiers who respond to incidents, often in a trending manner. Initiated violence from any side should be dealt with legally and with a heavy hand, but I argue that there is no balance. There is a teasing side and there is a side that sometimes reacts. This is a complete separation between things.
MK Musi Raz: The settlement is violent in nature, but most of the settlers do not engage in violence for its own sake. I went with the boy Muhammad Hammada, three and ten months old, to the place where he was stoned. After hitting his head, they continued to stone the ambulance.
And what’s the problem? No one is messing with it. The police arrived after the pogrom ended, as it always does, but the army was there, and not only did not help, but an officer pushed and hit the Palestinians. I want to understand why the Palestinians should turn to the distant police and not to the army that is in place.
MK Orit Struck: The discussion is supposed to deal with the activities of Israeli extremists in Judea and Samaria and there are many far-left elements who operate in the area. I want to hear from the army and police do they recognize that the riots on the ground by Jews and Arabs are always the result of provocative actions by those extremists, and how are the soldiers instructed to deal with these anarchists?
Brigadier General Yaron Finkelman, Head of the IDF Operations Division: The operational reality in Judea and Samaria is complex. “Dim) and arrests in the vicinity of a civilian population. Operational forces can act in the face of immediate action and immediately in the face of activity of the type described here and therefore it is complex.
Second, we operate in accordance with the procedures approved by the Spokesman for the Government and from which the operational instructions are derived. The IDF, of course, is the sovereign in the field and is responsible for overall protection, but the act of enforcing the law and closing the circle on incidents of violation of the law is, for obvious reasons, in the hands of the Israeli police.
When a military force is alone on the mission, it will provide an initial response and then a circle will be closed with the Israel Police and the Border Police. IDF soldiers have the appropriate powers and instructions to deal with these scenarios, but the reality is very complex. Before any operational employment in Judea and Samaria there are professional lessons that the soldiers are required to undergo, which include the mandatory operational instructions, investigations from past events.
Maybe I’m here again, but also simulations to guide the commanders and soldiers to those complex situations. Also, during operational employment there are specific briefings before each departure for the task. The IDF’s mission is security in all its levels and shades in a complex reality, according to binding instructions and IDF values and what is required of IDF commanders and soldiers.
MK Ben Barak asked: In the case of a Palestinian stone-thrower on an IDF vehicle or a Jewish thrower on an IDF vehicle, will the reaction be the same? The instructions examine the degree of danger to life that exists, and like anything, it depends on the situation.
Brigadier General Maurice Chen, Deputy Head of the Operations Division of the Israel Police: Regarding authority – the business is very orderly. But the police officers who come to the event also have command and control powers if there are no IDF soldiers. We have unique powers to deal with civil criminal matters – this is our niche.
Chief of Staff Ziv Sagi, Head of the Investigations Department of the Israel Police: In 2020, 189 Palestinians and 22 Israelis were arrested in the clashes. In addition, 242 investigation files were opened against Palestinians for the PSD and 115 legislative files against Israelis for the PSD.
The opening of the investigation is as in any other case known to the police – if there is a complaint or documentation passed or when there is a presence of police officers on the ground. We act professionally in any case to gather evidence and exhaust an investigation, and we are blind to identify and motivate. Where there is evidence we transfer the cases to the prosecution and where there are no cases closed, regardless of identification.
MK Itamar Ben Gvir: My problem is with the conduct of the police, because there is discrimination. My wife called the police when they threw stones at her, the police told her it was a 6-year-old child and offered to do a sulha.
MK Gabi Lasky: Trying to convene again for the purpose of the discussion – the settlers’ violence against the Palestinians and the response of the police and the army to things. Lack of public interest, or lack of sacrifice, when Palestinians do not feel comfortable coming to complain.
The chairman of the committee, MK Ben Barak, concluded by saying: I am sorry that the debate has turned left and right and I want to believe that there is a consensus among all members of the House that violence and taking the law into illegitimate hands no matter where it comes from. IDF soldiers need to be backed up, but it is sometimes difficult to see and accept things that we see happening.
Our morality as a state and as soldiers, is important and is a key component in our national security. When I see people on my side acting violently it hurts me more, there is nothing to do. This is also because I know we do a lot to prevent violence from the other side. We in the committee will continue to monitor, because this is a phenomenon that needs to be eradicated and it is in the interest of settlement in Judea and Samaria because it harms it, and harms the state.