Olmert ‘ashamed’ by ‘pogrom’ in Hebron

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called the violence in Hebron following the evacuation of a disputed house a “pogrom.”

“Immediately after the evacuation, there were actions that cannot be described except as attempted pogroms by Jews from the Hebron area and other areas against Palestinian residents in Judea and Samaria,” Olmert said at the beginning of Sunday’s Cabinet meeting.

He went on to say, “We are the children of a people whose historic ethos is built on the memory of pogroms. The sight of Jews firing at innocent Palestinians has no other name than pogrom. Even when Jews do this, it is a pogrom. As a Jew, I am ashamed that Jews could do such a thing.”

Olmert told the Cabinet that he and Defense Minister Ehud Barak “are instructing the security forces to do their utmost to prevent illegal and violent actions by Jews toward Palestinians in all areas under the responsibility of the State of Israel.”

Some 20 families and about 250 protesters were evacuated from Hebron’s Peace House, also called the House of Contention, on the night of Dec. 4. The evacuation came after Israel’s High Court of Justice upheld a government order that the house be emptied until a district court can determine ownership of the four-story, strategically located building.

Following the evacuations, young Jewish settlers reportedly terrorized Hebron’s Palestinian community, setting fires and smashing windows. Two Kiryat Arba residents allegedly fired into a Palestinian crowd, injuring a Palestinian man and his son, according to Palestinian reports.

The two men turned themselves in to police on Saturday, saying they were in danger at the time of the shooting and fired in self-defense, Ynet reported.

The Jerusalem Magistrates’ Court on Sunday remanded one of the men, Ze’ev Brauda, after police told the court that his actions were a provocation.

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