Photo Credit: Shalev Shalom/TPS
MK Ofer Cassif (L) and MK Mossi Raz (R) at a protest.

The police announced it is launching a probe against two Members of Knesset (MK), both members of the Arab-majority and anti-Zionist Joint List party, who are suspected of assaulting officers and utilizing their parliamentary immunity to commit crimes.

MK Ofer Cassif was documented on Friday hitting a policeman with his car and then smashing him on the head after the officer blocked his way to a demonstration against the evacuation of illegal Arab structures in the area of the village of Yatta in the Hebron Hills.

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Cassif took advantage of his immunity and entered with his vehicle into an area declared a closed military zone.

On Thursday, a serious incident was recorded when MK Ahmad Tibi confronted police in eastern Jerusalem and helped a detainee escape. The suspect was apprehended and arrested for questioning by the police shortly after.

The police stated Sunday that “in recent days, we have witnessed the violent behavior of two Knesset members against police officers and the disruption of the performance of their duties by law.”

“In their actions, there is an alleged suspicion of committing criminal offenses against police officers who perform their duties legally, offenses that are not related to their parliamentary role,” the police noted.

The police districts where the incidents took place were ordered to transfer all the materials they have, and the incidents are being investigated by the Intelligence Division, and “as soon as it finds that criminal offenses have been committed, a request will be forwarded to the Attorney General.”

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated Friday he “strongly condemns and views with utmost gravity the severe behavior, that encourages violence, of MKs Ahmad Tibi and Ofer Cassif who cowardly hide behind their immunity, disturb police officers in their work and assault them without shame. Immunity is in order to serve the state, not attack it.”

Minister of Public Security Omer Barlev stated that Cassif “crossed every border and behaved in a disgraceful manner when he hit a policeman on the head. It is intolerable that MKs repeatedly exploit their immunity to make political capital on the backs of Israeli police officers, and use physical violence against them. If they have a claim – they should turn to me, and not harass the policemen performing their tasks with dedication and in complex conditions.”

He said he intends to address the issue with the Speaker of the Knesset and the Attorney General.

“I will not allow Knesset members, or anyone else, to attack police officers,” he declared.

It is estimated that due to the documentation of the two incidents, Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara will have no choice but investigate the incidents.

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.