Thursday, June 12, 2014, 20:34 An attempt by the Yassam (Special Forces) police to create a provocation in Yitzhar, apparently in order to raise a media storm that would facilitate extending the seizure of Yeshivat Od Yosef Chai (located in Yitzhar), failed after the policemen disguised as soldiers were discovered by Yitzhar residents. The residents filmed the police until they left the scene in disgrace. Honenu attorney Adi Kedar noted that, “This is an unacceptable exercise which the courts have criticized in the past.”
At approximately 21:00 on the night of Wednesday, June 11 an IDF surveillance Jeep suddenly appeared, parked in the middle of the road leading to the center of Yitzhar. Yitzhar residents who arrived at the site to verify what the soldiers’ intent was quickly noticed that the situation was a set-up. Two soldiers got out of the Jeep and opened the engine hood as if there was engine trouble. Within a few moments the residents noticed that there was something a bit odd about the “soldiers”.
A team in a surveillance Jeep is usually comprised of regular service soldiers and generally the Jeep used is a different model than that which was parked in Yitzhar on Wednesday night. The “soldiers” who got out of the Jeep were approximately 30 years old, significantly older than regular service soldiers, were not carrying rifles as soldiers usually do or wearing a flak jackets as is customary and their uniforms were exceptionally unkempt. Additionally they were not wearing army boots and peeking out of some of their army shirts were partially exposed pistols; soldiers usually do not carry pistols. All of those details, especially together, indicated that the “soldiers” were actually policemen attempting to pose as soldiers.
One resident noticed a GoPro camera installed on one of the Jeep windows and another resident reported that Yassam forces were positioned on the road above the road on which the “disabled Jeep” was parked.
The residents realized that the disguised policemen intended to create a provocation for the purpose of making detentions and began to photograph and film from every angle. Many residents gathered at the site, sang songs and made it clear to the policemen that their plan had failed. After several minutes a Yassam van arrived to escort the disguised police out of Yitzhar and then the residents noticed that more police forces were waiting on the road leading to Yitzhar.
The residents of Yitzhar estimate that the Yassam staged the incident in order to create a situation in which the public would be more likely to favorably accept the decision of the Defense Minister to extend the order to take over Yeshivat Od Yosef Chai by border police by another three months.
In the past there have been several instances in which policemen from the Yehuda and Shomron Police have disguised themselves as Arabs and created provocations in Havat Gilad (near Yitzhar in the Shomron), Susiya (in the Hevron region) and Givat Ronen (near Har Bracha in the Shomron). Some of the attempts failed and some lead to detentions which drew criticism from the public.
Honenu attorney Adi Kedar responded to the failed provocation attempt: “Unfortunately the Yehuda and Shomron Police have not learned from the errors of the past and continue to create provocations with the intent of making detentions. This is an unacceptable exercise which the courts have criticized in the past. We are pleased that the incident ended as it did without detentions.”
The news agency HaKol HaYehudi filmed the incident, Hebrew only. Please see below a translation, by Honenu, of the transcript.
Please note that the song about sunflowers sung by Yitzhar residents relates to an incident which occurred in Hevron in June, 2013. Twenty sunflowers grown by a Jewish resident of the Adamot Yishai neighborhood of Hevron were damaged. The vandalism was throughly investigated by the Central Unit of Yehuda and Shomron Police, but only once they discovered that the perpetrators thought that they were vandalizing Arab property. The police department which investigates “Price Tag” incidents became known in some right-wing circles as the ‘Sunflower Police’ and a satirical song about the exaggerated and unwarranted attention given to minor incidents of vandalism was written.
Transcript of video clip:
Yitzhar resident: “All of a sudden it [the Jeep] starts. All of a sudden it starts, in a second.”
Another Yitzhar resident: “Here’s a camera inside, focused. One of those GoPro cameras.”
Yitzhar resident: “A focused camera. How nice.”
Yitzhar resident to police: “The ambush failed. What a bummer.”
Another Yitzhar resident to police: “Could we see your police badges, please?’
An additional Yitzhar resident to police: “Could we see your police badges?’
Yitzhar resident to crowd: “Have you ever seen soldiers with uniforms like these?” To the police “The ambush failed. Let’s go. Let’s go. Pack up already.”
Yitzhar resident to police: “Your provocations…”
[Yitzhar residents sing the ‘Sunflower Police’ song.]
The ‘Sunflower Police’ detain girls
And we all laugh at the ‘Sunflower Police’
0:51 End of song
1:08 Policeman to other member of his team: “No, no, no. What are you talking about?”
1:10 Yitzhar resident to a child pointing into the Jeep: “Look at the pistol there. You know that this is a provocation?”
Another Yitzhar resident: “Yes. He’s a policeman.”
An additional Yitzhar resident: “Has to be a provocation.”
1:21 Yitzhar resident to police: “No. It didn’t work. Leave.”
1:38 Another Yitzhar resident to police: “What? You don’t know how to lose honorably?”
1:42 Yitzhar resident to crowd: “Here’s a pistol.” To police: “Why don’t you have name tags? Could you let us know?”
1:59 Yitzhar residents clapping
2:04 Policeman: What happened?
2:07 Yitzhar resident to police: “What happened? Your ambush failed. That’s it. It’s over.”
2:09 Yitzhar resident to policeman: “Why are you pushing me? Why are you pushing me?”
2:25 Policeman to crowd: “Can I turn around here?”
2:30 Yitzhar resident to policeman: “Why are you trying to cause provocations here?” To crowd: “He’s closing the window.”
2:39 Yitzhar resident to police: “It didn’t work. It didn’t work. Maybe next time. Maybe next time it will work.”
2:45 Another Yitzhar resident to police: “Why don’t you do something like this in, let’s say, Hawara [Arab town adjacent to Yitzhar]? Great idea. Don’t you think? Maybe you could catch the Arabs who throw rocks every day at Jews. Have you ever thought of that? Makes sense, don’t you think?”
Video credit: HaKol HaYehudi