No discrimination in Police Brutality in Israel
Inside Israel the topic of police violence has always been vibrant on social media. Since the lynching of the young Arab this week, questions are being asked as to just how far the police have lost their moral compass.
In a Hebrew article, there is a video showing a montage of police violence and brutality against ordinary citizens - a must watch
Ethiopian Riots. Last year in May, I was with an independent Israeli Journalist and we filmed the events. In this first video, we witnessed tear gas being thrown into a small food store, and as the night went on firecrackers and smoke filled the air. As a Brit, I had originally veered towards the police, but was immediately told it was NOT the safest place to be. Bystanders were being herded and hurt. I was in the middle of the riot in Rabin Square for the whole evening, which had started peacefully until a horse kicked one of the protestors. From that moment, it looked like a war zone. Other videos are on my FB page.
Protests. Whilst it is possible to protest it will normally end in the police becoming involved. This week the ex Shin Bet Leader made an impromptu protest regarding the gas issue in Israel. It didn't last long as police took him away - later reporting he was the one impeding them.
Freedom of Speech. This is subject to what the topic is. One activist who regularly speaks out against the Social Services practices was chased down within a minute or so, and with a word from the social worker who told police he had a restraining ordeer (not true, proven in court), he was arrested and imprisoned. His lawyer woke the district court judge at 3am, who ordered the man to be released immediately. The police ignored the order. At 9am in the court, they asked for an extra few weeks to hold him. Fortunately with pressure, he was eventually released at 4pm.
Telling the truth against corruption. Rafi Rotem, one of the famous whistleblowers against Tax Authority fraud has spent nearly 13 years trying to bring the accused to justice. He has suffered false accusations, had 3 hit and run attempts, and currently faces prison for 'insulting a public official' - a euphemism for questioning someone in authority. Rafi was seriously hurt by police on false claims, something common to any sector of society.
Taking children. Countless parents talk of the time the police came with social workers to take children from them. They are traumatised by the event. Stories pour in of parents fighting to keep physical hold of a child as police pull them away from a parent and remove them, taking them in police cars to emergency centres or institutions. How many police should it require to meet a mother?
Innocent men can go to prison, just on the word of a woman, who is exempt from punishment for lying under Law 2.5. One father talks about his hell in prison, the police brutality he witnessed, and how the 8 months inside almost killed him. Even more shocking was the terror his mother went through as 17 special forces scaled the walls of her apartment, and broke walls and windows for a mere $1000 alleged debt. It actually made the local news in Ashdod. (This whole story is in 4 parts).
Rich - a wealthy father arrested over 150 times and beaten on false claims. Poor - men and women giving testimonies of violence against them. Protests - an activist imprisoned for merely getting out of his car. Orthodox, Arab, Jew, Ethiopian, Sudanese - the list is full. In every case the police report states the victim instigated the problem.
From personal experience, I was sitting outside an office with a journalist. The police approached us to ask what we were doing. We answered we were sitting in the shade. The officer's comment was 'You can't just do what you like. Give me your ID or your passport.' It was an act of intimidation. It doesn't feel pleasant.
Further videos can be found on FB Marianne Azizi, or on You Tube of Marianne Azizi with several testimonies of lawyers and citizens. The people of Israel are facing restrictions on their civil and human rights and are increasingly turning to the UN, or filing lawsuits from the USA. They have no recourse to justice in the country. It is uncertain how long the police can act with impunity.