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Settlers Form Committee to Back 13 Accused in Refugee Camp Attack

West Bank settlers have organized a public committee of solidarity with 13 settlers from Hebron accused of an armed attack on the Daheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem the night of June 6.

They are lashing back at the almost universal expressions of outrage over the event, particularly by the Israel Defense Force and Lt. Gen. Amram Mitzna, commander of the central sector.

Seven of the 13 suspects were released on bail last Friday. Six of them staged a sit-down strike outside of Jerusalem Police headquarters Monday demanding the release of the men still in custody. The latter reportedly accused the police of fabricating evidence.

Jewish leaders in Hebron have charged the police with “brutality.”

The solidarity committee is composed of some of the most hardline elements among the settlers and their supporters. They include Rabbi Moshe Levinger of Hebron; lawyer Elyakim Haetzni, who defended members of a Jewish terrorist underground several years ago; writer Naomi Frankel; Meir Ben-Gur; Zeev Freedman, a convicted Jewish terrorist since released from prison; Noam Arnon, spokesman of the Gush Emunim; Tzvi Katzover; and two members of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach movement.

Several leaders of Kiryat Arba, the Jewish township adjacent to Hebron, met with Mitzna Monday. They said later that while they had full confidence in the general, they abhorred his criticism of the raid on Daheisha. Mitzna called it the most “despicable” act ever perpetrated by Jews in the administered territories.

Other hardliners insisted that the security situation in the territories is not satisfactory. Arnon told Davar that the left wing was taking over the army.

About 200 people attended a talk by Kahane at the Kiryat Arba youth center over the weekend. Kahane reportedly referred to Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin as a “murderer” and suggested that to become a hero in Israel “one should plant bombs at Daheisha.”

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