Witness: Police hit girls with clubs
joseph flesh, THE JERUSALEM POST, Mar. 7, 2006
A social worker at an investigative hearing regarding the events at Amona on Tuesday claimed that soldiers and policemen had attacked girls during the evacuation with sexual intent.
Members and affiliates of the Yesha Council testified before the committee on Tuesday. On Wednesday, police will give their version of events.
Senior representatives of the Yesha Council also testified. Among them was Yitzchak Bar-Tov, who claimed that he saw police hitting people already restrained by handcuffs or other means.
Yaakov Tesler, 17, testified that he saw policemen hitting young girls on the head with clubs.
Most of the testimony regarding the sexual attacks came from Noga Cohen, a social worker in the Yesha Council. She read the testimonies of several girls who claimed to have been attacked or had seen attacks on other girls.
"'One [soldier] stepped on her and kicked her again and again. The second one was bending over her, and I saw that he was touching her in a very inappropriate way,'" one of the girls said in her written testimony.
Another girl claimed that a policeman had shoved her up against a wall and said, "Stop or I'll f*** you. You know what? I enjoy this."
"This raises the question, what exactly is going on here?" said Cohen.
MK (MP) Matan Vilnai, a member of the investigative committee, asked Cohen if there were any reports of policemen or soldiers trying to stop their comrades from attacking the girls.
"No, just the opposite," she replied. "They weren't embarrassed to do these things in front of their friends." To which a member of the committee responded, "OK, so there were one or two or three isolated soldiers who did these things and it's already folklore!"
The head of the investigative committee, MK Yuval Steinitz, noted that only 10 percent of sexual crimes in Tel Aviv are ever reported - and this among a secular population.
Interior Security Minister Gideon Ezra responded in February, when allegations of sexual asault by policemen first came out, by saying that any complaint would be thoroughly investigated by the Police's Investigation Department.
MK Uri Ariel, head of Yesha Council, also belongs to the committee, but remained silent throughout the investigation.
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