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In first, Israel grants refugee status to Sudanese asylum seeker

Six years after he fled Darfur for Israel, Mutasim Ali, one of the leaders of the asylum seekers’ struggle in Israel, has been granted refugee status. Ali: ‘Now I can live a normal life with dignity.’ 

By Yael Marom

Mutasim Ali was in the middle of his law school class when he learned that he would become the first Sudanese asylum seeker to be granted refugee status in Israel. According to the announcement, which was sent by fax to Attorney Asaf Weitzen, who represents Ali on behalf of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants, Interior Minister Aryeh Deri had decided to grant Ali refugee status.

Israel has yet to respond to nearly 1,000 asylum requests lodged by Darfuris who fled their country to Israel. These join a long list of over 10,000 of requests by asylum seekers — the vast majority of whom are Eritrean and Sudanese, which are still waiting for a response from the state. Many of these asylum have been in Israel since 2005.

“This is huge, I’m still in shock. I didn’t believe this would happen,” Ali told +972’s Hebrew sister-site, Local Call. “I thank the State of Israel for letting me stay here for all these years, and that it made a decision to grant me refugee status. I hope this is the first step in a positive direction, and that direction should be to grant refugee status to all those who are eligible, regardless of where they come from. Even if our stories are different, they are also very similar, and I am sure that many of us are eligible — all the state needs to do is check.”

“This will be a fundamental change in my life,” says Ali, “Now I can begin to think like a normal person. I won’t worry about what may happen tomorrow. I can live a normal life, with dignity — it’s an incredible thing.”

“The status will give me the space to do bigger things, and specifically to work toward change in my home country — because in the end I will go back there. Meanwhile I believe that I will be able to contribute more to Israeli society.”

Now that he has been granted status, Ali will need to make an appointment with the Interior Ministry, where he will receive a certificate acknowledging his new status. From there he will go to the National Insurance Institute, and...

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Asylum seekers call on Europe to try Eritrean leader for crimes against humanity

Thousands of Eritrean asylum seekers demonstrate in front of the European Union Embassy in support of a UN Commission of Inquiry to examine human rights abuses by the Eritrean dictatorship.

By Inbal Ben Yehuda

Over 2,000 Eritrean asylum seekers demonstrated in front of the European Union Embassy in Ramat Gan on Tuesday in support a United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Commission of Inquiry examining human rights violations in their home country.

The protesters marched from Levinsky Park in south Tel Aviv toward the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange in Ramat Gan, where the EU building is located. The organizers brought 22 buses full of asylum seekers from Holot detention center, where thousands of Eritrean asylum seekers are currently detained by Israel. Sudanese asylum seekers and Israeli activists also attended the demonstration to show their solidarity.

The protests were organized following the publishing of the second half of the UNHRC’s report on June 8, which was presented on Tuesday to the council in Geneva.

The demonstrators chanted slogans in both English and Tigrinya against the Eritrean regime, specifically against President Isaias Afwerki, such as: “Isaias must go” and “Isaias to the ICC.”

Bluts Iyassu, who has been living in Israel for six years and was sent to Holot 10 months ago, and who came to the demonstration to show support explained: “The UN committee established that the Eritrean authorities are committing crimes against humanity. The asylum seekers from Holot are joining the rest of the Eritrean community with the goal of demanding justice for our country.”

Iyassu expects the UN to act to bring Afwerki to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and that they take seriously the situation of Eritrean asylum seekers across the world. He expressed a similar expectation from both the Israeli government and society: “We ask the State of Israel to do everything it can to help us turn our country into a place worth living in, based on justice and respect for human rights. We hope they examine our asylum claims instead of calling us “infiltrators” and “migrant workers.”

“There is no pride in being refugees,” he added, “we are all longing to return to our home.”

The two-part UN report accuses the Eritrean government, President Afwerki, and other high-level officials in the ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) of violation of human rights...

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Ya'alon is only the latest Israeli security official to back Iran deal

In declaring that there are no existential threats to Israel, the former defense minister joins a litany of current and former security officials who have spoken out in favor of the Iran nuclear deal.

By Ali Gharib

When world powers led by the United States signed a nuclear deal with Iran, American neoconservatives and other pro-Israel hawks were positively apoplectic. Mark Kirk, the Republican senator from Illinois who enjoys a consistent windfall of pro-Israel campaign cash, said that the deal was worse than the Munich agreement with Nazi Germany. The Wall Street Journal opinion page’s Bret Stephens actually used that as a headline: “Worse than Munich.”

In fairness, these hawks were just taking their cues from Israel itself. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long regarded Iran as a second coming of the Nazis. He stated this unequivocally when the world was on the cusp of a nuclear deal—and defended the line of argument when it was criticized. That this notion would echo through rank-and-file right-wing Israel supporters in America should be no surprise: they have long been clear in their affinity for Netanyahu and his bankrupt worldview.

Oddly, however, Netanyahu’s tack seems to have always engendered more detractors in Israel itself — and not just lily-livered peaceniks. One hawkish figure, Netanyahu’s last defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, didn’t ever directly repudiate the comparisons of Iran to the Nazis but never made them himself. An eight-year member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, Ya’alon recently parted ways acrimoniously with the government. At a speech to this year’s Herzliya Conference (the “neocon Woodstock“), he delivered a blistering attack on Netanyahu and his rhetoric. Here’s The Washington Post‘s translation:

But Ya’alon didn’t stop there. He went on to more-or-less endorse the Iran nuclear deal. The Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, said Ya’alon, “has been frozen in light of the deal signed by the world powers and does not constitute an immediate, existential threat for Israel.” It’s hard to see how this latest statement could possibly stand in opposition to Secretary of State John Kerry’s defense that “the people of Israel will be safer with this deal.”

Ya’alon’s turn-around has been nothing short of stunning. Though eschewing comparisons to the Nazis, he was a vociferous critic of diplomacy with Iran. As Netanyahu pointed out in his rebuttal to Ya’alon, the then-defense minister called Iran an “existential threat” to Israel just four months ago. “One cannot express full...

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Settlers crowd-fund construction of illegal outpost on Palestinian land

After Israeli security forces demolished two structures in an illegal settlement outpost near Hebron, settlers are raising money to rebuild on an Israeli crowd-funding website.

By Noam Rotem and John Brown*

The Israeli military demolished several structures in a settlement outpost called “Givat Gal,” built illegally on private Palestinian land near Hebron earlier this month. During the demolition, settlers attacked soldiers and police officers with stones, for which two of them have since been indicted.

A few days after the demolition, settlers from Givat Gal launched a crowd-funding campaign to raise money to illegally re-building the demolished homes. The campaign, which was hosted on Israeli website “Headstart,” had raised nearly NIS 20,000 ($5,000) of its NIS 60,000 ($15,500) goal at the time of this report.

The illegal outpost of Givat Gal was established 12 years ago as an extension of the settlement of Kiryat Arba, on land the Israeli army’s Civil Administration admits is privately owned by Palestinians. The structures demolished last week were a residential structure and a wooden pergola erected in the name of an Israeli civilian murdered while hiking in the area and an army commander killed during the 2014 Gaza war. It was the first demolition of Israeli settler homes carried out under Israel’s new defense minister, Avigdor Liberman.

According to the indictment filed in a Jerusalem court Monday, a number of settlers attacked IDF and police forces during the course of the demolition, some of whom were injured, and caused damage to state property. One Israeli settler was indicted for throwing a stone at an IDF Civil Administration bulldozer. According to the indictment, a policeman approached the accused and asked him to stop, but despite the officer’s protestations, the man threw another stone, broke the bulldozer’s windshield, and wounded the driver on his head.

Another settler, the indictment continued, goaded and incited the crowd of rioters to attack the police officers, and then proceeded to run toward a human chain of officers, attacked them, and wounded one officer.

Asked about its decision to host the crowd-funding campaign to build an illegal settlement on private Palestinian land, a spokesperson for Headstart told +972’s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call: “We don’t take a political/religious/ideological stand when it comes to approving projects on the site. The matter was sent to the project’s initiator and we are waiting to...

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An Israeli-Palestinian confederation? Not so fast

A new initiative seeks to find a new, creative way to solve the conflict. The only problem? It forgets about equality.

By Yuval Eylon

The latest hit in the peace plan business comes from “Two States One Homeland,” an initiative that eschews both the two-state solution and the one-state solution, instead envisioning a confederation between Israel and a future Palestinian state.

Founder Meron Rapoport fleshed out the movement’s core principles at the movement’s conference a few weeks ago: “We believe that the central aspect that was missed here over the past 22 years is the fact that the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is one country, while at the same time belongs to two peoples. Jews and Arabs are interwoven in every part of this land. The two nations have a deep connection to all parts of this land: Jews feel a connection not only to Ramat Hasharon but to Hebron, and Palestinians are connected to Jaffa and Haifa no less than to Ramallah. Dividing the land goes against these very emotions.”

Professor Oren Yiftachel explained the political need for such a solution: “The two-state solution was an empty slogan, which at its best will lead to a Palestinian state that lacks any real sovereignty,” and “the one-state solution looks like the wet dream of religious extremists on both sides. The idea of a single democratic state is an illusion.”

So what are we to do? Two States One Homeland proposes a confederation based on 1967 borders, freedom of movement, and joint institutions. The settlements will remain under Palestinian sovereignty, the settlers will be able to keep Israeli citizenship, and a similar number of citizens of Palestine will be able to live as residents in Israel.

It seems that the biggest obstacle facing the two-state solution is the issue of West Bank settlements. The proposed solution is simply to leave them where they are, only under Palestinian sovereignty. The settlers themselves will be residents of Palestine, yet retain their Israeli citizenship. Why would Palestinians give in and agree to reward them for stealing Palestinian land? The answer is that in exchange a similar number of Palestinian citizens will be able to live in Israel as residents.

On paper it seems like a fair exchange. However with hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens in sovereign Palestinian territory, the Palestinian state will inevitably lack all sovereignty. The...

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The new Hebrew language schools challenging Zionist narratives

How does language shape reality? How does reality shape language? Welcome to the postmodern discourse, where several new Hebrew-language programs are embracing critical pedagogy to leverage social change.

By Laura Selz

Only a century ago, Jews in Jerusalem spoke French, Yiddish or Arabic, that is, until a few devoted secular Zionists like Eliezer Ben-Yehuda re-invented Modern Hebrew as the common language for generations of Israelis to come. For hundreds of thousands of immigrants ever since, ulpans (Hebrew language courses) acted as a first step toward navigating their way through a foreign country and integrating into a new society.

These days, most of those ulpans are licensed and operated by the Jewish Agency; a few others are offered as part of university programs. In addition to serving the student, however, they also have value for the immigrant-heavy state and its quest to create a common national identity, for which a common language is integral. For understandable, historic reasons of nation-building, these programs largely teach Hebrew using materials — maps, photos, texts, and songs — that represent or stem from an exclusivist, Ashkenazi-dominant and Zionist narrative of the country, its history, peoples, and society.

Enter a group of ideological immigrants and linguists who insist that there is another way for newcomers to engage with the Hebrew language — not only through the prism of Zionism and its nationalist narratives. One of the pioneers in trying to make that change is “This is Not an Ulpan” (TINAU). The name of the ad hoc language school reveals its agenda. “We don’t learn Hebrew, we learn in Hebrew,” the alternative language program describes itself.

Using language studies to shape society

In 2012 a group of new immigrants to Israel, one of whom was Canadian Daniel Roth, had the idea to change the classic concept of Hebrew ulpans. “It’s not for everyone, but it’s exactly what’s been missing,” Roth says today. “As I made Aliyah (the Hebrew word for immigrating to Israel, l.s.) in 2011, I had the impression that the traditional ulpans were about shaping a learner into what fits in society. They were not critical at all towards nationalistic narratives or what’s happening in the society. We wanted to shape society and not just the learner.”

The group of teachers and students followed a clear critical pedagogic movement: small classes, anti-authoritarian teaching, and critical content. They were inspired by postmodern linguistics and...

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And on the Sabbath, the police rested

An Israeli civilian admits to destroying a Palestinian’s fence, erected in order to prevent settlers from stealing wood for burning on the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba’Omer. The police close the case anyway.

By Yossi Gurvitz, for Yesh Din

On October 18, 2014, dozens of Israeli civilians coming from the direction of Hebron trespassed on land belonging to Muhammad Sadeq Muhammad Rashid Qanibi and began demolishing a fence he had built there. As in many other cases of assaults by Israeli civilians in the West Bank, the 18th was a Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath and day of rest. This day, as we have seen before, possesses near-mystical powers, as it often deters Israel’s security forces from arresting people. Or at least Jews, at any rate. The forces who arrived on the scene decided not to carry out any arrests, instead choosing to summon the suspects for interrogation the following day.

The police had a suspect, H.B., who actually confessed to the act: he told the policeman who arrived on the scene that he was responsible for the damage to Qanibi’s fence. According to H.B., Qanibi’s fence was blocking the Israelis’ route from Hebron to some local springs in the area.

The police began their investigation. They queried the Civil Administration over whether Qanibi was in fact authorized to build a fence on his land. A Civil Administration official responded in the affirmative. The investigative file given to Yesh Din by the police as part of our appeal is woefully incomplete, contrary to the regulations that require the police to provide us with all non-confidential material. The files do indicate that the Civil Administration official said that the fence was built with the permission of the Hebron Brigade Commander, as Israeli civilians had made it a habit to come to Qanibi’s land (where he grows olives), and take some wood for the Jewish holiday of Lag Ba’Omer, in which it is customary to build bonfires.

Qanibi gave his statement to the police along with CDs containing photos of the incident, which were taken by his neighbor. He noted that although Israelis regularly invade his land and steal his property, he was forced to pay for the fence himself.

The police summoned H.B. for interrogation under caution. Again, the information police provided about the interrogation is very fragmentary; aside from what he told the policeman during the...

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French pro-Israel group threatens to 'scalp' thousands of BDS activists

The ‘Brigade Juive’ claims to have sent the threatening email to 8,000 activists worldwide, lamenting that since French law doesn’t do enough against boycott supporters it must take matters into its own hands.

By Yael Marom

A right-wing group calling itself the “Brigade Juive” (Jewish Brigade) says it sent thousands of threatening emails and messages to boycott Israel activists around the world overnight Thursday, promising to “put an end to BDS.” The messages were apparently sent primarily to activists in France, Australia and Israel.

The senders, who addressed recipients as “dear boycotters” (in French), warned (in English): “We have are a very particular set of skills, skills We have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make us a nightmare for people like you.” It concluded in French: “boycotters should understand, we will be scalping you one by one, group by group, organization by organization.” A message on its Facebook page clarified that it referred to scalping figuratively — and had “nothing to do with the Indian custom, of course.”

The email, sent to 8,000 email addresses according to the group’s Facebook page, included a link to a longer Facebook post in which the group claimed that BDS activists are fans of Hitler, Holocaust deniers and inciters of hate. It went on to explain that French law doesn’t do enough to stop boycott-supporting activists and organization operating in the country, so it must to take matters into its own hands.

One Israeli activist who received the threatening email told +972’s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call, that “the threat is menacing, but the large number of recipients testifies to its weakness. You can’t silence so many human rights activists. Acts of intimidation that the Brigade already carried out in France have not deterred French anti-occupation and Israeli apartheid activists.”

In its report on the threatening email, the Electronic Intifada warned activists not to click on links in any threatening emails noting that they might contain malware.

The French underground

Local activists told +972 that the “Brigade Juive” is believed to be tied to the French branch of the Jewish Defense League (JDL), a militant organization started by Meir Kahane in the United States in the 1960s, and which has been outlawed for terrorist activity in the United States and Israel. In recent years, the French branch of the organization has directed much of its...

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Israel cannot afford to abandon its Arab youth

Sixty thousand Arab youths in Israel are defined as ‘idle,’ neither working nor studying, a precursor to a life of unemployment and violence. It’s time for the state to take drastic steps to ensure they too have a future.

By Makbula Nassar

Sixty-thousand young Arabs between the 18-22 are defined by the state as “idle” — those who do not work or study. But the term is deceiving: there is nothing idle about these young people; in fact, the term is probably better suited to the local authorities who do nothing to ameliorate their situation.

Forty percent of people in this age range, young men and women at the height of their mental and physical capabilities, cannot make anything of themselves. Instead they carry with them only hormones and smartphones — without the possibility of education, money, language, or a future.

A study published in 2011 by Professor Momi Dahan and Dr. Zvi Eckstein defined the phenomenon as such: a threat that affects nearly half of the next generation of Arab citizens. Add to that the deterioration in Arab society over the past few years, and it is likely that the youth’s “idleness” has already been translated into negative, self-destructive behavior.

Despite the fact that “idleness” affects twice as many young Arab women as men, women have higher rates of survival in the education system before they reach the stage of post-high school idleness. But let’s not pretend that women deal with the despair in a more productive way, as they often get engaged as a sole means of survival. It is true that a large percentage of young Arab women are married before they this, and they remain idle — they neither study nor work.

It is no coincidence that such a large group of people has become a statistic. In fact it is a miracle considering the fact that 53 percent of Arab families live in poverty. The ability to function decreases accordingly when there are no services in Arab society that can assist these young people who have zero access to studies, sports, or employment.

The optimistic scenario

If anyone thinks that idleness is simply a group of young people sitting loitering on a main road with a bag of sunflower seeds or spending hours looking at a screen should recognize that this is the optimistic scenario. Yet it is not always reflective of reality.

For many...

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Muslim and Queer: Mourning after Orlando

As a Queer person, the shooting on Sunday reminded me how ugly bigotry is. As a Muslim woman the media frenzy surrounding the shooting on Sunday reminds me of how ugly discrimination is.

By Suhad Babaa

I am Queer and Muslim, raised in a Muslim and Christian household. I was taught to love and be gracious, to be humble and to embrace ideas, cultures and experiences that were not my own. I have also been taught to listen and learn. I have tried to live those values every day.

I don’t usually weigh in when there has been tragic loss of life in the communities that I am a part of. This mourning is something that is deeply personal for me. But over the last few days the media circus that I have grown to disdain, and the problematic rhetoric that comes with it, has seeped into spheres of my friends — many of whom I love and respect — and I cannot help but say something.

On Sunday morning I woke up to news of the shooting in Orlando like many of you. I was immediately in pain. Forty-nine lives lost. Not a single life should ever be taken this way, and there is nothing that can be said to try to make sense of this. I mourned, quietly, as I do too often these days for each life taken by violence. I mourned for all the families who have lost loved ones, for all of the people who I know now live in that much more fear, and for all of the lives that have been taken in the most unthinkable manifestations of discrimination before this.

Then I continued to read and I saw the name Omar. I knew what the rest of the day would look like — a tragedy that was born out of bigotry that would only be used to fuel more of the same. I knew almost immediately that over the next few days, whether casually at a bar, or while eating a meal at a public place, or in meetings with folks, the conversation would no longer be about how to ensure queer communities are safe, or how to move forward gun reform, but rather about Muslims, and more specifically, the conflation of Muslims and terrorism. My heart sank into the pit of my stomach because I don’t know a good way of mourning a heartbreaking...

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Straight terrorism

It doesn’t matter if the murderer in Orlando was Jewish, Christian or Muslim — the same hate crimes keep targeting us, over and over again, across the world.

By Yael Marom and Ma’ayan Dak

At least 50 people were killed and another 53 wounded early Sunday morning in a massacre at the “Pulse” club, a venue associated with the LGBTQ community in Orlando. The media spent the better part of Sunday trying to understand why it happened. But for many of us in the LGBTQ community, it was clear as could be: yet another hate crime in a wave of violence against LGBTQ people that has been going on for thousands of years — all over the world. “Straight terrorism” hits us everywhere we live.

In one year alone in just 25 countries there were 594 hate-related killings of LGBT people, the UN Human Rights Council reported last year. “The trans murder monitoring project, which collects reports of homicides of transgender people, lists 1,612 murders in 62 countries between 2008 and 2014,” The Guardian reported. That’s more than one transgender person murdered every two days.

Here are some names, just the tip of the iceberg: in 2008 a gang of men raped and murdered South African soccer player Eudy Simelane. The same year, Lawrence “Larry” King, a 15-year-old gay teen from California, was murdered at school by fellow students.

In May 2013, Mark Carson was murdered while walking down the street with his partner in New York. One month later, 18-year-old autistic gay teen Stephen Simpson was set on fire and murdered at his own birthday party. In August of that year Krill Kalugin was attacked in St. Petersburg for holding a pride flag. In April 2014, 25-year-old transgender woman Çağla Joker was murdered in Istanbul. This year, in April 2016, Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Tonoy, central activists in the Bangladeshi LGBTQ community, were murdered in Dhaka.

According to a report published by the Nir Katz Center Against LGBTphobia published ahead of pride month, 380 cases of LGBTphobia were reported in Israel — in the 10 months prior to the report’s publication. Nineteen percent of the reported cases dealt with physical harm, eight were cases of threats, 40 cases were of verbal assaults and humiliating treatment, and seven cases involved threats made over social networks. It is spine-tingling to cite data published...

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Dividing Jerusalem, solidifying the occupation

As Israel approaches the 50th anniversary of its decisive victory in the Six Day War, it is evident that subsequent policies have retroactively transformed a war of self-defense into a platform for messianic expansionism that over time is undermining Israel’s very existence.

By Daniel Seidemann

Last weekend was the 49th anniversary of Jerusalem’s “reunification.” This anniversary comes in the context of a popular uprising in the city unlike any since 1967. Although “Jerusalem-the-eternal-undivided-capital-of-Israel” was never more than a hollow myth, 49 years post-“unification” the city is physically divided by walls of mutual fear and hatred, buttressed by violence and mistrust, as never before.

For protracted periods since 1967, the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem was a disease in remission. That occupation is now metastasizing and increasingly indistinguishable from that of the West Bank. Not citizens of Israel, Jerusalem’s Palestinians form a society in limbo—permanently disenfranchised and politically disempowered, part of neither Israel nor the Occupied Palestinian territories.

Once a barely tolerated minority, the Palestinian collective in East Jerusalem is today often viewed by official Israel as “the enemy.” Collective punishment, which was once episodic, has become increasingly systemic. Always limited, today governmental and municipal services have all but collapsed for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who live within the city limits but beyond the separation barrier.

Dividing Jerusalem

These developments are so blatant that even those who have in the past subscribed to the mantra of “eternal-united-Jerusalem” now realize that the status quo is unsustainable. This realization finds expression in a slew of recent proposals calling for dividing the city. One such proposal comes from Israeli opposition leader Isaac “Buji” Herzog, another from Labor leader Haim Ramon, and a third, more oblique but similar in substance to the others, from Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat.

As a longtime advocate of a political division of Jerusalem as part of a two-state agreement, I welcome this awakening to the reality of the unsustainability of Israeli rule in East Jerusalem. At the same time, I am deeply alarmed, because these plans are animated by some of the most dangerous and counterproductive thinking encountered in recent memory.

Central to all of the proposals is the argument that the way to improve security and “save” Jewish Jerusalem is not to end occupation but to expand it. The central idea is to excise some 200,000 Palestinian men, women, and children from Jerusalem, cutting them off from families, hospitals, places of work, study, and worship. The remaining 120,000 Palestinians—those living in areas Israel prizes...

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Show me the evidence, just not the incriminating photos

Police internal affairs diligently investigates a complaint about police brutality, omitting one minor detail: the incriminating photos provided by the complainant.

By Yossi Gurvitz

In December 2014 a demonstration was held on Route 60 in the West Bank, near the Tunnels Checkpoint separating Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Palestinians were protesting the death of Minister Ziad Abu Ein, who died three days earlier — on International Human Rights Day — a short while after he was photographed being choked by an Israeli Border Police officer during a demonstration against the illegal outpost of Adei Ad.

During the protest, Youssef Abu Maria was approached by a Border Policeman who, without any provocation on Abu Maria’s part, hit him forcefully in the chest. Abu Maria lost consciousness and was evacuated to a nearby hospital.

Three weeks later Abu Maria lodged a complaint with the Department of Internal Police Investigations (Internal Affairs) against the policemen who assaulted him. He attached to the complaint the medical documents indicating the treatment he received. Along with his complaint, Abu Maria noted that he had photos in his possession identifying the suspect who had assaulted him.

While it took the investigation four months to summon Abu Maria and take his statement, from that point Internal Affairs acted quickly and almost efficiently. The investigator sent a memo to the person in charge of the security cameras at the checkpoint on May 27, two days after taking Abu Maria’s statement. However, the latter replied that, unfortunately, the data on the cameras is only kept for two weeks and at that point, six months had passed since the assault. A shame. It could have been useful.

After that the investigator diligently interviewed a series of witnesses: policemen who saw nothing, a cop who claimed that Abu Maria was “pretending,” a civilian who also saw nothing and another civilian who testified that Abu Maria was indeed assaulted without any reason. Following the investigation – the very existence of which is remarkable given that Internal Affairs closes a third of its cases without any investigative action (Hebrew) – the investigator reached the conclusion that he was unable to identify a suspect. He closed the case on grounds all too known to readers of my blog posts for Yesh Din: “unknown perpetrator”.

Hold it!

Let’s rewind to the original complaint Abu Maria lodged...

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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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