'Blatant Double Standards' in Police Investigations

Policemen seen hitting a suspected Arab rock-thrower - suspended at once; those indicted for beating Jewish protestors - still in active service.

Hillel Fendel ,

Police Violence in Amona
Police Violence in Amona

Three Border Guard policemen have been suspended, just a day after being filmed hitting a suspected Arab rock-thrower, while policemen indicted for beating Jewish protestors are still in active service.

The Ynet news service prominently featured an "exclusive" film of a Border Guard policeman hitting an Arab youth near Shechem on Wednesday, after repeated rock-throwing attacks on Israeli jeeps in the area. The next day, Ynet announced that as a result of its report, Border Guard Commander Hassein Fares had suspended the policeman and his two partners from active service.

The three suspected Border Guard policemen were summoned to the Department for Investigating Policemen (Machash) Friday morning to explain their actions.

The head of the Machash Investigative unit, Avi Peretz, said that despite the film, the policemen would be summoned to give their version of the events: "Despite all, we have to hear the suspects' version. In similar cases, policemen have even been sent to jail... We still have not found the complainant, but I hope that we will receive an official complaint [from him]."

'Blatant Double Standard'
"This is a blatant example of a double standard," Orit Strook, the head of the Yesha (Judea and Samaria) Civil Rights Organization, told Arutz-7 this morning. "When there is a case of violence against Arabs, there is an immediate suspension, but we have cases of police violence against Jews - in which criminal indictments have already been handed down! - and the policemen are still serving and have not been suspended."

Strook, a resident of Hevron, provided some examples:
"Mounted policeman Dudu Edry, who has been indicted for trampling Yehuda Etzion in Amona over a year ago, has not been suspended. Policeman Yaniv Reuveni, who was photographed choking a boy from Netzer Hazani during the Disengagement protests, has not been suspended. Police officer Yechiel Amsalem kicked and broke the jaw of a protestor, yet has not been suspended from active duty..."

Strook said that 100 complaints against police violence at Amona last year have been submitted, but only three indictments have been served.

The Border Guard unit patrolling the Hawara area, near Shechem, is often assaulted with rocks. In this Wednesday's incident, the police stopped a crowd of youths suspected of taking part in throwing rocks that day. One youth did not stop when ordered to by the police, and it was he who was filmed being hit.

The first talk-back in the Ynet story, and others afterwards, commented that it would have been fair of Ynet not to suffice with the testimony of the boy who was hit, but to bring the Israeli side and evidence of frequent rock-throwings as well.

Shmuel Medad, head of the Honenu organization that provides legal aid for those facing legal charges for actions they took in the framework of their duties protecting Israel and the like, said, "The suspension of the three policemen is very grave. The State has placed its policemen in an impossible situation - expecting them to protect us under very difficult and hostile conditions, and then we judge their actions while watching TV or the internet from our living rooms. What happened to 'don't judge someone else until you are in his shoes'? ... Not to mention that this is clear discrimination, in that policemen who hit Jews are not judged as quickly or as strictly as those who hit Arabs."