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Ethiopian-Israeli protest against police brutality is met with violence

This isn’t Baltimore. This is Jerusalem, on Thursday night. 

Photos by Oren Ziv and Tali Mayer/Activestills.org

Ethiopian-Israelis protest police brutality against Ethiopians in Jerusalem, blocking Israel’s Highway 1, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Ethiopian-Israelis protest police brutality against Ethiopians in Jerusalem, blocking Israel’s Highway 1, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Thousands of young Ethiopian Israelis demonstrated against police brutality in Jerusalem on Thursday, in a vigil that spiraled into violent clashes with police.

The protesters congregated in the afternoon under the banner: “Down with racism! A black person will not be brought down.” The protesters blocked major roads in the capital — including Highway 1, the road that links Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

When the protest approached the Prime Minister’s Residence a few hours later, police gloves were off. Officers fired tear gas and stun grenades at the crowd, with some present reporting via social media that riot control forces had brought out the dreaded “skunk” spray, generally only used in Palestinian protests in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Some 15 protesters were reportedly injured.

A police officer appears to use his baton against a protester lying on the ground at a demonstration against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A police officer appears to use his baton against a protester lying on the ground at a demonstration against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli police shoot putrid ‘skunk’ water a demonstration against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israeli police shoot putrid ‘skunk’ water a demonstration against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Thursday’s protest came against the backdrop of a video in which a policeman was seen brutally beating an Israeli soldier of Ethiopian heritage in Holon. Ethiopian Israelis have been victims of repeated police violence in recent years.

The protesters demanded that the police officer stand trial, and called for Netanyahu’s immediate intervention. They also called for Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino’s resignation.

Ethiopian-Israelis demonstrate against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Ethiopian-Israelis demonstrate against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Tali Mayer/Activestills.org)

Ethiopian-Israelis protest against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Ethiopian-Israelis protest against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Ethiopian-Israelis clash with riot police at a protest against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Ethiopian-Israelis clash with riot police at a protest against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Police arrest an Ethiopian-Israelis protester at a demonstration against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Police arrest an Ethiopian-Israelis protester at a demonstration against police brutality, Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Ethiopian-Israelis demonstrate against police brutality in Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Ethiopian-Israelis demonstrate against police brutality in Jerusalem, April 30, 2015. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

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    1. Bruce Gould

      Lest we forget why apartheid is used to describe Israel, here’s the Discriminatory Law Database: http://www.adalah.org/en/content/view/7771

      In March 2013, Adalah launched the Discriminatory Laws Database, an online resource that collects more than 50 Israeli laws enacted since 1948 that directly or indirectly discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel in all areas of life, including their rights to political participation, access to land, education, state budget resources, and criminal procedures. Some of the laws also violate the rights of Palestinians living in the 1967 OPT and Palestinian refugees.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bar

        That’s the funniest list ever. I went to it just now and looked at the very first “discriminatory law” and discovered that it wasn’t discriminatory and the claims made about it were false…and proven so in the recent election.

        Demonize, demonize, demonize.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Well, Bar, that law was crafted by Avigdor Lieberman with the clear intent to deny the Arab parties access to the Knesset. It backfired precisely because people like you and Lieberman, in your disdain and condescension, just could not imagine the Arab parties uniting. The real story, in context, is described here:

          http://ncronline.org/blogs/ncr-today/israels-arabs-unite-ahead-march-17-elections

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          • Bar

            Well, Ben, actually I wrote at the time in a couple of discussions that this law applied to Jewish parties no less than Arab ones and all the Arab parties needed to do to overcome the new line was to band together into one or two parties. This is precisely what happened. In fact, a couple of Jewish parties ended up eliminated from the Knesset.

            The point being this law isn’t discriminatory and wasn’t. Whatever Lieberman thinks or says is not only irrelevant, considering how many people dress anything revolving Israel and its government in negative terms, why should we be surprised that this law is called “discriminatory?”

            This law passed primarily because the Knesset has been dysfunctional for decades with all these small parties. This law was an attempt to fix this problem. Now that we’re seeing more of the same in these negotiations, if I were Bibi I’d form a coalition with the next 3-4 largest parties and raise the threshold again. This isn’t about Arabs and Jews, rather it’s a law about Israel and Israelis not being well served by all these tiny parties that can bribe their way into the government on the backs of a larger majority.

            Reply to Comment
        • Weis

          Demonize??

          No need…

          The brutal Fascist Satanyahoo does a FINE job of acting like a Demon on his own in his hate and disgust for “black” people…

          And his hatred of Obama makes this point crystal clear…

          One would expect that behavior in the Racist Redmeck Deep South of the U.S…

          Israel is worse than the south because there is NO CONSTITUTION to protect human dignity.

          Reply to Comment
      • whiplash

        Bruce you should talk to veteran journalist Khaled Abu Toameh who has lived and worked in both the West Bank for Arab media and in Israel for Israeli media. He says that he would rather be a second class citizen in Israel than a first class citizen in any Arab state. Arabs in Israel have more rights and privileges than Arabs in the West Bank, Gaza or other Arab countries. You should read his articles at gatestoneinstitute.org, it might open your eyes and ears.

        Then you might talk to Lucy Ahrish the anchor of I24 English News. She said in an interview that she considers herself an Israeli first, a woman second and a Muslim Arab third. She is proud to be an Israeli. She and most other Israeli Arabs do not consider themselves to be Palestinians.

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        • Bar

          Arabs in Israel are far from “second class” citizens. If you have any doubt about this, I encourage you to pay a visit to Haifa U or the Technion.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/.premium-1.653323

            “On one side of the Arab city of Umm al-Fahm is a two-lane road that ends suddenly — the money ran out — and on the other side is the main exit, a bottleneck that narrows even further the closer it gets to Route 65, the main highway that runs through Wadi Ara.
            A visit to the second largest Arab city in Israel, where 53,000 residents live, in the Wadi Ara area of northern Israel illustrates the impasse faced by many Arab towns in the country.

            The afternoon we visited traffic flowed easily. But that’s not the case during rush hour at 5:30 a.m., seven days a week, when some 20,000 drivers try to leave town.

            “It takes 20 to 45 minutes [to get out],” says Saliman Mahamid, the long-serving city engineer. “Every resident knows that in order to get to work they must make it through the traffic jam, and 12 hours later they will get stuck on the way back,” says Mahamid, noting that over 50% of the population works out of town. “People work all over the country so they leave early, but everyone sits in the same unbearable traffic jam. There is no city in Israel, certainly not of this size, where the exit and entrance are controlled by one small traffic light. I assume that in a Jewish city of the same size they would have already dealt with the matter,” he says.

            It seems Mahamid is right: Over 10 million shekels ($2.5 million) was invested recently in another interchange for the second largest neighborhood in Hadera, Givat Olga, where some 12,000 residents suffered from an infuriating, but much smaller, traffic jam. Today they enjoy a new and impressive road that connects to the coastal road (Highway 2). In Umm al-Fahm, by comparison, they will wait — and not because there are no plans, which there have been for decades. This traffic jam is the parable and moral of the story of generations of Israeli governments whose actions are defined by discrimination and Chelm-like stupidity….”

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          • Bar

            Why does that indicate to you they’re second class citizens? It’s possible their MKs didn’t focus on this issue because they were busy demonizing Israel instead of serving their constituents, or that the roads are funded by arnona – local tax – which Arab communities collect in much lower rates than Jewish communities.

            On a per capita basis, Arab Israelis receive more gov’t support funds than any group except for settlers: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4568999,00.html

            Reply to Comment
          • Change

            እስራኤል ኣገር ሄጄ ኣላውቅም። ዘረኝነት ምን ደረጃ እንዳለው ኣላየሁም። ይሁን እንጂ ዴሞክራት ሃገር እንደመሆኑዋና በዓለም ላይ በጣም ዳይቨርስ ከሆኑ ቀዳሚ ኣገሮች ኣንዱዋ በመሆኑዋ የተሻለች ኣገር እንደምት ሆን እገምታለሁ። በተለይ ለኢትዮጵያውያን ለየት ያለ ፍቅር እንዳላቸው ከዚህ በፊት ብዙ ሰምቻለሁ። ይህንን ካልኩ በሁዋላ ግን በእስራዔል ኣገር ለሚኖሩ ኢትዮጵያውያንም ሆኑ ለቤተ እስራዔላውያን ኣንድ ምክር ላስተላልፍ እፈልጋለሁ። ወያኔ በዲያስፖራው ኣካባቢ የሚኖረውን ኮሙኒቲ በዘር በሃይማኖት መከፋፈሉ ይታወቃል። ይሄ በሁልም ኣካባቢ ያለ ሲሆን በእስራዔል ግን የከፋ እንደሚሆን እገምታለሁ። ብዙ ኢትዮጵያውያን ስላሉና መንግስት በዚህ ኮሙኒቲ ኣካባቢ ስር የሰደደ ጥላቻ ስላለው ይህን ኮሙኒቲ ከሁሉ ጋር ማጋጨት ትርፍ እንዳለው ያምናል። ስለዚህ ኮሙኒቲ ብዙ መጥፎ ነገር በማስወራት ጥርጣሬንና ኣመጽን መቀስቀስ ይፈልጋል። ስለዚህ ኢየሩሳሌምን የምትጠብቁ ኢትዮጵያውያን እርስ በርስ በምስጢር ተነጋገሩና ይህን መከፋፈልና በእስራዔል ላይ የሚመጣን የጥላቻ ወሬ የመከፋፈል ወሬ ኣጥብቃች ሁ ተቃወሙ። ይህ ኣሁን ጉዳት ደረሰበት የተባለውን ወታደር ሁኔታም ወደ ህግ ማምጣትና በመጀመሪያ የህጉን የበላይነት ማየት ኣስፈላጊ ነው። ሰላማዊ ሰልፍ እደግፋለሁ፣ ዘረኝነትን እቃወማለሁ ይሁን እንጂ በዚህ ስም ወያኔ የራሱን ስራ ሊሰራብኝ ኣልፈቅድም። ወያኔ እውነተኛ ማንነቱ በተለይም ከምርጫ ዘጠና ሰባት በሁዋላ ብዙ ነገራቸው እየከፋ መጥቶኣል። ጥላቻ ኣላቸው። ከሚተሉት መካከል ኣሜሪካና እስራዔል ዋና ናቸው። በመሆኑም በዚያ ኣካባቢ ኣንዲት ወንጀልን እያነሱ በመንግስታች ሁ ላይ ሌላ ስሜት እንዲሰማች ሁ ለማድረግ ሲሞክር በተለይም ወታደራዊ ኣገልግሎታች ሁን ስትወጡ የሚመጡ የረቀቁ ለናንተ ኣሳቢ የመሰሉ የዓመጽ ኣይነቶች ሲመጡ ንቁባቸው። በኣንጻሩ ፍት ህ ሲጎድልባች ሁ ዝምተኛ ኣት ሁኑ። ኣንድ ወንጀል ሲፈጸም ቶሎ ከዘር ጋር ከማያያዝ ይልቅ የተጎዳውን ሰው ወደ ፍት ህ እንዲሄድ ማገዝ ነው። እግዚኣብሄር እናንተን ኢየሩሳሌምን የተስፋይቱን ምድር ትጠብቁ ዘንድ ሾሙዋልና ይህንን ኣገልግሎት ኣት ዘንጉ። በወሬ ኣገር እናፈርሳለን ብለው ለተነሱ በር ኣት ስጡ። ለናንተ ኣሳቢ መስሎ እያለቃቀሰ የሚመጣው ወሬ ሃገራች ሁን ለመጉዳት ይሆናል። ኣሸባሪነትን የምትዋጉትና ኣገራች ሁን የምትጠብቁት በጠመንጃ ብቻ ሳይሆን ከፋፋይና ኣታላይ ወሬ ሲመጣም ነው። ኣሸባሪነት ሁል ጊዜ በጠምንጃ ብቻ ላይመጣ ይችላል። በእንዲህ ዓይነት ሁኔታ ማለትም በወሬና በኣሉባልታም ኣገር ሊያፈርስ ይሞክራል። በቤተ እስራዔል ወታ
            ደሮች ኣካባቢ ቅሬታን ለመፍጠር የተሸረበ ረቂቅ ሴራም ሊሆን ስለሚችል ኣንድ ነገር ሲከሰት ወያኔን ኣት ሳቱት። የእስራዔል ጉዳይ የሃይማኖታችን የየሩሳሌም ጉዳይ የኣምላክችን ጉዳይ ነውና በሙሉ ሃይላች ሁ ቅድስቲቱን ኣገር ጠብቁ። እግዚኣብሄር ይባርካች ሁ።

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    2. Proud Miza Jew

      Israel is an abomination. The Zionist State cannot function without discrimination, racism and warfare whether on minorities, for energy, resources or actual combat. It will even enable Genocide and trade with Genocidal parties (Rwanda,Bosnia,Ukraine). Its an abomination, the Monster of Frankenstein.

      Sterilizing Jewish women (Ethiopian Women)among the many horrors the Zionist state has committed against our fellow Jews and non-Jews, inside and out of the state, is why If The Zionist State of Israel ceased to exist tomorrow I would be dancing.

      The nightmare that is Israel will be over, it is only a matter of when.

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    3. Yesak aberham

      Free textdon’t forget that israeli gov’t begged ethiopian gov’t to move all ethiopian jews to israel before 25 years ago…. This Eth. jews were descended from families before jesus christ came… They were in ethiopia for about 2thausand years….jews were scatered everywhere now after all those days they are on against us.. Shame on you…”Ethiopia raises her hands to the God”

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