First, as always, a dab of history:
Until a couple of years ago, Amona was just one of dozens of hilltop settlements in the West Bank, generally built on misappropriated Palestinian lands, consisting of a few families living in motor homes and trailer houses. Such caravans can pop up overnight, and the routinely do.
This one had a good location, and grew rapidly. Last year they did something unusual -- the settlers built nine permanent houses on the hill. Fearing they would become entrenched and seed another settlement "bloc", Shalom Acshav (Peace Now) challenged this before the Supreme Court, which ordered the houses demolished. But even empty houses have symbolic value to the settlers, so they reached a deal whereby the houses could remain, so long as nobody occupied them. This deal held until recently, when the strains between the government and the settlers caused by the Gaza evacuation led to the breakdown of this deal as well.
This week, the IDF came in to demolish the houses. The settlers decided to make a last stand, and called in thousands of supporters. Chaos ensued. Given that context, the following is offered without comment:
From Ha'aretz reporting on the demolition,
At yesterday's confrontation, some 3,000 settlers - many of them teenagers - faced off against thousands of soldiers and policemen during the three-and-a-half hour operation, which both sides agreed had been far worse than the disengagement from Gaza. Some 75 people were arrested.
The ensuing six-hour wait, until the court finally cleared the demolitions to go forward at about 10 A.M., strained the nerves of both sides, and when the operation resumed it was open war: The settlers holed up in the houses hurled stones, iron bars and concrete blocks, and police responded by clubbing anyone within reach - even those who were merely trying to flee the scene. Mounted policemen rode down anyone in their path.
Among the wounded were right-wing MKs Effi Eitam and Aryeh Eldad - and the latter, furious and in pain with a broken hand, let his true feelings slip: "They're treating people like Arabs here," he spat.