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August 3, 2015 / 18 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Police brutality’

Police Finally Fire Officer Who Assaulted Soldier of Ethiopian Origin

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

Police have finally fired the officer who was caught on video assaulting Damas Pakada and then arresting him for supposedly having attacked him.

Police commissioner Yochanan Danino explained that the unidentified police officer was not dismissed immediately because he “made several claims” and that discussions on in the incident included legal advisers.

The broadcast of the video of the assault set off violent protests by the Ethiopian community against police brutality and racism.

The fired police office still faces possible criminal charges, which Danino said are pending the outcome of an investigation and if there is enough evidence to indict him.

The video shows that the police officer approached Pakada, who was on a sidewalk with his bicycle, spoke to him and within one second started beating him.

The Problem is Not Discrimination Against Ethiopians

Monday, May 4th, 2015

The deputy mayor of Tel Aviv is Ethiopian. There have been 7 Ethiopian Knesset members. There are Ethiopian IDF officers. There are Ethiopian doctors, athletes and actors.

While the path has not been easy for them, and there’s still more to do, Israel did and is doing an amazing job integrating Ethiopian Jews into Israeli society.

The problem is not how Israeli society treats Ethiopians.

The problem is not how the Israeli police treat Ethiopians.

The problem is how the Israeli police treat everyone.

As investigation after investigation, and scandal after scandal exposes, the Israeli police are violent, they are corrupt, they are misogynists, and as the Israeli joke goes, if the Israeli police weren’t wearing uniforms, they’d be the criminals.

Last week’s police brutality against the Ethiopian IDF soldier was just one more case in a long string of cases of police brutality.

I’ve witnessed police brutality at protests. I’ve experienced it at protests, to personal injury.

My fellow blogger Jameel was nearly killed by a policeman at Gush Katif in front of my eyes. (And mind you, for those who remember that story, we had written permission from some very high ranking Ministry of Defense officials to be where we were).

Only the fast interception by a Druse policeman stopped the violent policeman’s truncheon from smashing Jameel’s head open like a watermelon. And the oblivious-turned-shocked Jameel, who had been just standing there looking the other way, didn’t even know he was almost killed, until he turned around from the noise and saw the Druse policeman blocking the violent policeman’s deadly swing.

The Israeli police need to be cleaned out from top to bottom.

They should start with Machash – the Police’s Internal Investigations unit, who as my friends (who have been victims of police violence) can attest to, are not interested in investigating the violent policemen and getting rid of them.

I will finish up with one story.

During the anti-Oslo protests in the 90s, the police would suddenly get extremely violent, rushing out at us, beating people up, and so on – even though the protesters were not violent at all.

We learned to expect it.

But one day, at one protest, it didn’t happen.

The police were just sitting there on their horses. The water canons weren’t blasting, and the protest was allowed to complete itself non-violently – as it was supposed to.

Quite surprised at the lack of police violence that I was used to seeing and experiencing, I (brazenly/stupidly) went over to one policeman on his horse and sarcastically asked him, “Why aren’t you beating us up? Usually this is when you get violent.”

I was surprised to receive an honest answer.

The policeman said, “We received orders to not attack you this time.”

I think that says it all.

‘Anarchists’ Inciting Violence at Ethiopian Protest against Police [video]

Monday, May 4th, 2015

Police said Monday morning that anarchists incited protesters to violence in last night’s march in Tel Aviv against police brutality and racism, undermining the demonstrators’ objectives.

Protesters were armed with rocks and metal objects which they hurled at police officers, 56 of whom were injured lightly. Police arrested 43 demonstrators and hurled stun grenades in the middle of a crowd blocking a major artery at rush-hour in Tel Aviv.

Both a senior police official and “Elazar,” who made Aliyah from Ethiopia years before the massive airlift in Operation Shlomo, told Voice of Israel radio (Reshet Bet) that the protest turned violent partly because of anarchists, whom the interviewer later said could be “leftists or rightists,” although the term “right-wing anarchist” in Israel is almost contradictory.

Left-wing elements, many of them funded by American Jews and non-Jews, often have been accused of inciting Arabs and illegal African immigrants to violence.

The charge of “racism,” which undoubtedly is true but not always to the Nth degree as sometimes described, is a good way to rile up the riff-raff. That is exactly what happened last night.

Mahratta Baruch-Ron, the deputy mayor Tel Aviv and an Ethiopian, tried to calm down the protesters, but to no avail; the anarchists and trouble-makers took over.

Like last week’s protest in Jerusalem that turned violent when nearly 1,000 protesters surged towards to the official residence of the Prime Minister, last night’s demonstration lacked responsible leadership.

Police did not interfere Sunday night even when protesters blocked major arteries near Rabin Square in downtown Tel Aviv, and it appeared that some people in the crowd were itching for a fight by deciding to proceed towards the high-speed intra-city Ayalon Highway.

Yediot Acharonot, which never misses an opportunity to whitewash leftist criminals and find cause against Netanyahu, reported that “social activists” joined the protesters.

The protests were sparked by a video shown on Israeli television last week of two policemen assaulting, without any provocation, an Ethiopian soldier, who was clad with kippa. Discrimination against Ethiopians is widespread while the police show no discrimination when it comes to excessive violence.

The protesters have concentrated on racism, while political leaders, including Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) chairman Naftali Bennett, have hitched a ride on the “race card” rather than pursuing the opportunity to demand massive reform in the police force.

The plagues of racism and violence against police, as well as police violence against civilians, elicited an immediate response from Prime Minister Netanyahu.

He is meeting Monday with Ethiopian community representatives, soldier Damas Pakada who was filmed being beaten by the policemen. Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino, and representatives of the Public Security, Social Affairs and Social Services, Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, and Interior ministries.

They will make statements announcing funding for projects aimed at the Ethiopian community and will ignore police brutality.

The new protest movement is continuing Monday morning with a march in Jerusalem. Travelers are advised that major arteries, including Sderot Herzl, Rabin, Shazar, Ben Tzvi and Ruppin are closed as of 11 a.m.

The U.S. Embassy yesterday warned citizens that protests that are “intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence” and advised, “You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.”

Below, an Ethiopian protester tells Channel 2, in Hebrew, that outside inciters turned the peaceful march into a violent riot.

Arabs Leaders to Join Ethiopians in New Protest against Police

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015

Arab Knesset Members have announced they will join Ethiopians on Sunday in another protest against police violence and alleged racism.

A peaceful march last week turned violent when nearly 1,000 angry Ethiopians surfed towards the official residence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu near downtown Jerusalem. Police at the scene used stun guns and water cannons to disperse the crowd after the demonstrators refused to retreat. The demonstrators pelted police with bottles and rocks.

The Ethiopian community is enraged over the exposure last week of two policemen in Holon, adjacent to Tel Aviv, beating an Ethiopian soldier, who was wearing a kippa, for no apparent reason.

Police arrested the soldier for supposedly having attacked them, but the video forced law enforcement officials to drop the charge and apologize. They also said that the two policemen, one of them a volunteer, have been suspended and that their actions do not reflect the values of the police.

The Ethiopian community is not buying the mea culpa and plans to protest today near Tel Aviv’s Azriella Towers, home of the fanciest malls in Israel.

At least two Arab Knesset Members, Ayman Odeh and Ahmed Tibi, have called on Arabs, who claim that police discriminate against them, to join the demonstration.

The Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party has not commented, despite thousands of incidents of police violence exercised against innocent settlers.

Nor have the bleeding heart left-wingers, who usually never miss the opportunity to show their support for minorities, uttered a word.

Hareidi leaders also have remained silent although they have plenty of reasons to complain about excess police violence.

Ethiopian leaders allege that police discriminate against them, but the silence from mainstream Israel indicates that the bias may be a lot deeper.

Peaceful Protest by Ethiopians against Police Brutality Turns Violent

Friday, May 1st, 2015

A peaceful protest against police brutality by Israelis of Ethiopian lineage turned violent Thursday night when the demonstrators marched on the official residence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

Police used water cannons and stun grenades to disperse several hundred people who posed a threat to security at “Paris Square,” one mile from downtown Jerusalem. At least two police officers and five protesters were hospitalized in the melee, with demonstrators throwing rocks and bottles at police.

The Ethiopian community in enraged after footage emerged earlier this week of policeman beating a soldier from the Ethiopian community for no apparent reason. Original reports said he was told to clear the area because of a suspicious object.

Netanyahu stated Thursday night:

I unequivocally condemn the striking of the soldier from the Ethiopian community and those responsible will be brought to justice but nobody has the right to take the law into their own hands.

Immigrants from Ethiopia and their families are dear to us and Israel is making great efforts to ease their integration in society.

The two police officers who this week beat the soldier, who was wearing a kippa, face suspension, but that does little to reinforce trust in the law enforcement agency that has been rocked by sex scandals and has a reputation for beating up people, especially Jews, and even more so if they are religious or are settlers.

The video of the police assault showed two police officers hitting him mercilessly for two minutes on a street in Holon, adjacent to Tel Aviv. Somehow, the reported suspicious object evaporated from their agenda or simply was a fabrication.

Police brutality is a disease that exists around the world. Just ask the mayors of Ferguson, Illinois and Baltimore.

There was no indication that the police beat up the soldier because he was Ethiopian. Perhaps it was because he was wearing a kippa. Or perhaps it was because the policemen simply found an opportunity to hyperventilate.

Lacking in last night’s protest were settlers, Hareidim, national religious and secular Jews, leftists and right-wing Jews, and Arabs, all of whom have been victims of police brutality.

The protest also had no responsible leader who would have known better than to present a security threat to the Prime Minister’s residence.

The fact that almost all of the protesters were of Ethiopian descent underlined the feeling of racism, although Israeli police do not discriminate between race, creed and color when it comes to brutality.

Some of the protesters showed signs that they can be no less violent than police, with the leader of the Campaign for Equality for Ethiopian Jews telling Yediot Acharonot, “Apparently the streets of Israel must burn like they do in Baltimore, in order for someone to finally wake up. The apartheid regime is back, this time in 21st-century Israel.”

There is no doubt that the Ethiopian community suffers prejudice from some sectors in Israel, especially the elite Ashkenazi power-brokers.

But they are not singled out by the police, and Netanyahu has the chance to reform the police by appointing a Minister of Public Security who, unlike the outgoing minister, who wants to protect the public from investigations of crime and plain ineptitude.

Below is the video of the police attack on the soldier.

Careful, You May Be Rooting for the Wrong Side in Turkey

Sunday, June 2nd, 2013

I’ll preface by saying that I receive all of my information about the recent events in Turkey from the news media, and nothing in my experience or education makes me an expert on things Turkish. But, over the past two years, I’ve been corresponding with an Israel-friendly Muslim sect in Turkey, and so my perspective on the situation is a little better than skin deep.

What’s most striking to me is how similar things in Turkey are to things in Israel. And so, I ask you to please keep an open mind when I tell you that in Turkey, just as in Israel, a largely right-wing, religious or traditional majority is being repressed and manipulated by a system rife with financial tycoons, an anti-religious military establishment, leftist NGOs, and the media, that have marked religion-the-concept as the enemy.

And, much like Israel, Turkey has a tightly centralized system of government, hostile to the free market, the enemy of small business; and they have a brutal and very powerful police force.

Americans sometimes fail to understand the fact that a democracy requires more than voting every 2, 4, or 5 years for our elected officials. The Middle East is crawling with tyrannical regimes that were genuinely elected by the people. It doesn’t make them a democracy.

It takes democratic institutions to have a real democracy—and Turkey, unlike most Arab nations, has them—but on top of those there also must be a democratic spirit, a determination on the part of every screw and cog in the machine to respect the rights of the minorities, to preserve and defend the democratic process, to maintain the sanctity of the system. And Turkey, just like Israel, is not really there in those terms. Neither are many other so-called Western democracies. Indeed, since the final victory of the West, in 1989, as the last vestiges of Communism came crashing down, Western democracy began to die—and not by some evil conspiracy, mind you, democracy has been dying because no one cares enough to keep it alive.

In Israel, we’ve been voting for a majority comprised of right-wing parties every election since 1977, and every single time we’ve ended with left wing governments. It’s not surprising anyone any longer, folks here are voting for the big right wing fox Netanyahu and the giant right wing Bear Liberman, and on the other side of the process they receive Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein. The majority of Israeli Jews support the settlements – and they get a prime minister who’s freezing housing construction in the settlements, while describing how the whole thing will be handed over to the Arabs, eventually.

Israelis vote right wing and they get the left wing media, left wing courts, left wing civil servants. The system is rigged, again, not by some conspiracy, but because a centralized system will always yield repressive results. If MK Moshe Feiglin were made prime minister tomorrow, the next day he would impose a settlement freeze—or he won’t be prime minister. We just saw how, having made it into the Knesset on the Likud line, Feiglin protested the police decree keeping him off of Temple Mount, so, effectively, he is no longer a member of Knesset. He serves on no committee and so has scant opportunities to legislate.

That’s how bad it is in Israel. It’s a lot worse in Turkey, where the centralization of everything in the hands of a relatively small class of anti-religious administrators, military men and financial tycoons is written into the law.

Much like religious and right-wing Israelis, traditional and religious Turks have been voting for Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), and they’ve been getting a state that’s for the most part just as anti-religious as before.

You know what’s been happening in Turkey: some environmentalists were protesting, last Monday, the fact that the government was cutting down trees in a central square park, to make room for yet another shopping mall. But soon enough, the demonstration was hijacked by the left.

Our friend in Istanbul, Sinem Tezyapar, wrote Saturday night:

“People do not burn streets, or demolish stores, in peaceful protests. Turkish Communists love to create an uproar and clash with the police whenever they can. Most of the time, they are the provocateurs at any peaceful protest. And they can easily cause a scene, since they clash with the police in the most central districts.”

I believe her, because I know from experience: there’s no such thing as a spontaneous demonstration—somebody has to get people over, somebody has to make signs, somebody has to pack sandwiches—and there’s no such thing as a demonstration that deteriorates into clashes with police. If there’s a clash, it’s because either the cops wanted it, or the extremists in the crowd did. And neither group do things spontaneously, either. They get the word.

IDF Clash with Border Police for Shooting at Jews

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

On Tuesday afternoon, clashes resumed in the village of Esh Kodesh, after Israeli Border Police permitted nearby Arabs to plow the land between the settlements of Esh Kodesh and Achiah, Hakol Hayehudi reported.

Named after the Piaseczna Rebbe, the renowned spiritual leader of many Chassidim in Auschwitz, Esh Kodesh is a 22-family village overlooking the Jordan Valley (2400 ft above sea level), some 25 miles north-east of Jerusalem. Its neighbor Achiah is another 22-family village.

The Esh Kodesh residents have argued that it shouldn’t take dozens of Arabs to plow one field – one tractor could do the job quite proficiently. Also, seeing as it is well past the plowing and sowing season, they view the “plowing” as nothing more than sheer provocation on the part of their Arab neighbors, and a clear threat to the security of their village.

Residents of the community along with many supporters, who have endured severe clashes with the police earlier in the day, returned en masse to the disputed area and tried to prevent the plowing with their bodies. As usual, the Jewish locals were treated brutally by the border cops, who fired tear gas and stun grenades directly into the group of Jewish civilians, which included women, children and babies.

A group of IDF reservists who had been ordered to the area to secure the plowing Arabs, ended up defending the Jewish civilians from the cops.

“A Druze Border Police officer named Yusuf commanded the event and totally freaked out,” said a resident of Esh Kodesh to Hakol Hayehudi. “He fired tear gas canisters into a group of women and children and used severe violence. At some point a large group of reserve soldiers arrived and once they saw what was happening, they started shouting at the Border Police: ‘Are you crazy? Are you screwed in the brain?’ and demanded that they stop firing on children.”

According to the residents, the police officers themselves then started to debate their own conduct. “The soldiers shouted at them: ‘We are one nation,’ and ‘Look who you’re shooting at,’ and more talk like that, and they became confused and started arguing among themselves.”

One resident related that the debate between the soldiers and the border cops grew louder and turned into mutual cursing. “At some point, the Border Police just became too annoyed at the soldiers and told them: Let’s see you get by here by yourselves, climbed into their jeeps and drove off,” he said.

The Arabs, who had only managed to plow a few meters, saw that they were deserted by their security guards and began to flee. “Once they no longer had the backing of this Druze officer, the Arabs simply turned around and drove quickly away,” said one resident.

In earlier incidents, four Jews were arrested in clashes in the area. An Esh Kodesh resident was arrested by border policemen in the most brutal and violent manner, and later a resident of Givat Gulat Zion was arrested after being asked to present an ID card by police detectives who positioned road barriers separating the settlements of Gush Shilo. Two boys were also arrested, one because the cops claimed he was wanted for questioning, and the other after he refused to show his ID card. Both were released after a few hours, according to the Honenu legal aid society.

During the clashes Jews shattered the windows of a car owned by an Arab who was driving on the country road connecting the villages of Kotzra and Jalud. The driver was sprayed with pepper gas and sustained injuries from stones thrown at him. He was evacuated for medical treatment. The Arabs of Jalud also complained that some Jews had cut down a number of olive trees near their village.

The IDF informed the Jewish residents that the Arab plowing of the fields near their community will continue despite their protests. The residents, for their part, are preparing additional days of clashes and call upon all those who care about the village’s security to come to the area and help prevent the plowing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/idf-soldiers-clashing-with-brutal-border-police-for-shooting-at-jews/2013/01/02/

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