[IMRA: Israel Television Channel One Mabbat evening news reported that
100,000 attended the rally that had been organized over the course of two
days. This is a phenomenal success given both the time and the possible
chilling effect of fear of police violence.
For some reason, the bulk of the coverage has not focused on a very
straightforward issue: the Yesha Council put its reputation on the line
when it offered to commit to move or demolish the buildings within two weeks
in order to avoid a clash. This proposal constituted a major and dramatic
concession on the part of the settler community - something that the Yesha
Council leadership were able to offer only after long and painful
discussions with the people at Amona. The buildings at Amona were hardly
"ticking bombs" that had to be demolished within hours. So the very harsh
questions remains for the Olmert team to answer: even if you thought that
Yesha Council would not "deliver the goods", why did you deny them the
chance? Why, despite all the spins to the media that you want to work with
"moderate" Yesha leaders, did you send them back empty handed?
In the absence of any other explanation for the critical need to demolish
the buildings within hours rather than 14 days, one is only left with a
simple explanation: Olmert's polls found Kadima lost seats for the
compromise in Hebron earlier that week. His political advisors projected an
even greater drop in the polls if he "compromised" at Amona and postponed
the demolition for two weeks.]
Zion sq. crowd: Olmert bad for the Jews
etgar lefkovits, THE JERUSALEM POST Feb. 5, 2006
Tens of thousands of right-wing demonstrators thronged the streets of
downtown Jerusalem Sunday night, calling for a state commission of inquiry
into the excessive use of force by police at the Amona settlement outpost
The theme of the rally was "Olmert is bad for the Jews," referring to Acting
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The demonstration, the largest of its kind since
the Gaza Strip evacuation last summer, was organized by the Council of
Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.
The crowd, predominantly religious teenagers, repeatedly called on the
government to establish a commission inquiring into what they called "the
brutal police violence" during the Amona clashes, in which more than 200
people were injured.
"When we arrive at a situation where Jews are fighting Jews, and the country
is fighting its own people, something is wrong and we have to stand up and
say something," said Racheli Shoshan, 18, from Neveh Daniel in Gush Etzion.
"Olmert and Kadima are responsible for Hamastan" and "End Police Brutality"
were among the placards in the sea of protesters at Zion Square.
Most of the protest was directed at Olmert, who was accused of causing a
"Ehud ran away. He wanted to see blood and fire. He wanted to see the blood
of Jews," said National Union MK Uri Ariel, who tore his shirt as a sign of
mourning over the demolition of the nine stone homes in Amona.
"Instead of building [up] Ma'aleh Adumim, he transfers hundreds of millions
of shekels to terrorist organizations," he said, referring to the government
freeze on building in the E1 area linking Ma'aleh Adumim to Jerusalem and
Sunday's decision to transfer NIS 250 million in taxes and customs duties -
which Israel collects from Palestinian workers and merchants - to the
Earlier Sunday, Olmert rejected calls from across the political spectrum for
the establishment of a state commission of inquiry, saying that the police
and the army had to be left out of the political debate.
"What I never would have believed in my worst dreams is that a Jewish police
force would act the way they did," said Oren Amitai, 30, of Amona, whose
illegal home was among those demolished. "What hurts most is that Jews did
"It is important that people see the support of the youth and quit seeing
everything though the television lens," said Racheli Eldad, 17, of
"Our generation will not give up and let the government give land that God
gave us to the enemy who wants to kill us," said Ohio-born Rachel Reinbach,
18, of Jerusalem.