For the first time, Israeli anarchists are facing criminal charges through a criminal complaint filed by civilians.
The defendants are three members of the extreme leftist group Anarchists Against the Wall, Kobi Snitz, Ilan Shalif and Yonatan Pollack, who have been allegedly involved in organizing violent demonstrations at various locations in Judea and Samaria since 2013, demonstrations that have used violence against IDF soldiers, including stone throwing, in an attempt to harm the soldiers.
This is a legal precedent in which a civil organization enters the state’s shoes and in effect indicts left-wing activists on criminal charges by means of a criminal complaint. The complaint was initiated by Ad Kan, a group that works to “disprove the lies that are spread about Israel,” which was joined by three IDF reservist soldiers who served and were injured during the demonstrations in recent years.
The complaint states that the demonstrations take place every Friday in the villages of Bil’in, Na’alin, Nabi Salih and Qudom. According to the complaint, “the demonstrators act against IDF soldiers and border policemen, including by throwing stones at the security forces in order to harm them.”
It was further noted that Kobi Snitz has been serving as the organizer of the demonstrations in the village of Na’alin for about ten years, leading and participating in them, and that Ilan Shalif serves as the organizer for the village of Bil’in. Snitz allegedly conducts preliminary patrols in the field in order to gather information about the presence of the security forces, which he passes on to the demonstrators. Schiff also briefs the demonstrators and leads them near Bil’in. The accused also allegedly dispense gas masks and protective goggles to the demonstrators.
The three defendants allegedly recruit Israeli and foreign activists to take part in violent demonstrations and drive them over on Fridays to support the local rioters.
The third defendant, Yonatan Polak, who did not appear at the hearing, was accused of leading the violent demonstrations near the village of Nabi Saleh, and also throwing stones at the security forces and thereby encouraging the rioters to confront the security forces.
Late last week, two of the activists appeared in the courtroom of Judge Dov Pollock at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court to begin their trial. Their attorney criticized the process by which “a right-wing political organization which is close to the government […] has seized the authority by means of a criminal complaint to try” her clients.
Despite the claim, the Judge ruled that the trial would continue before him.
The complaint ends with the determination that “in these acts, from 2013 until today, every Friday the defendants, together with the rioters, unlawfully attacked IDF soldiers and border policemen.”
Ad Kan said it intends to exhaust the legal process until the criminal conviction of the defendants.