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Police Fail, Grassroots Group Succeeds: Violent Soldier ID'd

The Yesha Civil Rights Organization found witnesses and a video to identify a soldier who "volunteered" to use violence against youths at Amona.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/16/2007, 11:42 AM

The Yesha Civil Rights Organization did its homework, found witnesses and a video, and was able to locate and identify a non-Jewish soldier who "volunteered" to use violence against youths during the police destruction of nine unauthorized houses. 

The incident occurred in February 2006, in the Jewish town of Amona, overlooking Ofrah in the Binyamin region.  Hundreds of youths who came to protest the destruction of the Jewish homes were injured, some seriously, by violent Border Guardsmen and other policemen.

Many complaints were filed against violent policemen at Amona, but most of them never made it past Machash - the Department for Complaints Against Policemen.  One of these was the one against Ibrahim Sharif, who was accused of beating and throwing the teenaged complainant.  Machash was unable to identify Sharif for the simple reason that he was not a policeman at all, but an army driver who happened to arrive on the scene. 

Sharif was thus not even part of the force charged with enforcing order at Amona.  Rather, when he arrived in Amona and saw the situation - which actually had begun to calm down, as the destruction of the nine houses had already been completed - he asked a Border Guard policemen to lend him a club, and began hitting with abandon. He also lifted the complainant youth by his arms and threw him backwards towards a sewage installation, causing the boy tremendous back pain for days afterwards.

Monetary Fine, and Possible Army Dismissal
For his "volunteerism," and following detailed detective work by the Yesha Civil Rights Organization, Sharif will have to pay the boy 6,600 shekels - and the out-of-court settlement stipulates clearly that he must pay it from his own pocket. 

Asked if Sharif will be punished by the army, as well, for his unsolicited sadism, Orit Strook of Hevron - the head of the grassroots organization - told Arutz-7 that her group is pursuing the matter with the army in an attempt to have him dismissed.

Strook also explained that Sharif was caught after hours of going over videos of the Amona violence, as well as with the help of a witness - who has since passed away - who was a friend of the complainant.  One video showed Sharif wearing an army sweater, holding the club as if he was not accustomed to it, and threatening the photographer, 'Don't film! I'll break your camera!" 

Strook said that several other court cases of accusations of police violence at Amona are underway at present, and she expects similarly positive results.