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      Havat Gilad: Violent Police Attack Broke Civil Rights Laws

      Residents of Havat Gilad say officers beat an innocent man, blocked traffic and attacked those who tried to take pictures.

      By Maayana Miskin
      First Publish: 10/15/2008, 8:40 AM

      Flash 90

      Residents of the Samaria town of Havat Gilad (Gilad Farm) have accused border police of carrying out a violent attack on civilians on Monday afternoon, shortly before the beginning of the Sukkot holiday. The incident began when an officer who had removed his identifying tag approached a newlywed couple standing at the entrance to town and began beating the man, causing injuries, residents said. The victim of the attack moved to town recently and has never been involved in quarrels with Arabs or police, making the motive for the attack unclear, they said.

      Witnesses attempted to film the event but were attacked by other border police officers, residents said. The other officers stood nearby and watched the attack without making any effort to restrain their companion, they charged.
      Witnesses attempted to film the event but were attacked by other border police officers, residents said.

      When a group approached the officer who began the attack and requested his name and number, they were beaten by his fellow officers, residents said, and one member of the group suffered facial injuries and required medical attention. While the motive for the initial attack was unclear, all subsequent attacks took place when residents of Havat Gilad attempted to determine the officers' identities or take pictures, according to eyewitnesses.

      In addition, residents accused the officers of deliberately blocking the only road to the town with their jeeps until shortly before the holiday began, thus preventing residents from entering the town in order to prepare for the holiday or leaving in order to spend the day with family. Jewish law prohibits driving on holidays.

      While the officer who initiated the attack took pains to conceal his identity, a witness was able to take a clear picture of his face, allowing them to identify him as Khaled Hugi Gah. Residents have filed a complaint against Gah and his commander via the Judea and Samaria Human Rights Organization.

      Attorney Orit Struk, representing the Human Rights Organization, sent a letter to Border Police Commander Yisrael Yitzchak demanding that Gah be kept away from contact with civilians and asking him to enforce protocol requiring officers to wear tags with their names and numbers. Struk pointed out that she was unable to turn to Judea and Samaria Border Police Commander Shlomi Even-Paz for help becuase he is currently on trial for allegedly destroying evidence of border police officers' violence against civilians in Homesh.