MK Ben-Ari Hospitalized after Police Kick Him at Protest
Border Police attacked Knesset Member Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) Monday afternoon after he demanded an explanation of why they were arresting minors and not allowing him to examine their condition. The MK was hospitalized for light injuries.
A video (below) of the incident shows the MK jumping on the hood of a Border Police jeep and agreeing to step down only after an officer would explain why police handcuffed juveniles and arrested them. No one stepped forward to explain.
Security officials said that Ben-Ari was interfering with arrests as police broke up a protest against the expulsion of Jews from hilltop communities and subsequent demolitions.
The police denied the juveniles their basic rights, Ben-Ari charged. The freshman legislator from Karnei Shomron said. “I said I am a Knesset Member, but they refused to talk with me.”
He warned the police that he has immunity as a Member of the Knesset. After several minutes of a standoff, security officers pulled Ben-Ari off the hood of the jeep casting him onto the ground. He was then forced him into another vehicle. The legislator claimed that once inside, police hit him in the face and kicked him in the stomach.
Ben-Ari was interviewed by telephone on Knesset Channel 99 as he was on the way to the hospital after being released from police following the beating. “Everything was photographed,” he stated, adding that he identified the police officer who attacked him.
Knesset Member Dr. Michael Ben-Ari refuses to get off of jeep until an
officer explains why minors were arrested and tied up.
“I am not 16 years old,” he continued. “If that is what they do to me, a Knesset Member, what do they do to children?”
The protests followed the destruction of two unoccupied structures at the Nahalat Yosef outpost near Elon Moreh in northern Samaria. Youth immediately began to rebuild following the destruction.
Rock throwing battles broke out between Arabs and Jewish activists shortly after the destruction. Each side also burned fields and orchards.
A spokesman for Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who has ordered demolitions of hilltop outposts, said that expulsions of larger and more densely populated communities would not take place before attempts are made to convince residents to evacuate peacefully.
He has warned that force will be used if residents do not agree to leave 26 communities that the United States calls illegal because they were built after the September 2001, the date by which the Sharon government agreed to cease building new towns in Judea and Samaria.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee Monday morning that he agrees with the American demand to dismantle the communities but will not consent to freezing all building in Judea and Samaria.