Seven girls have filed a lawsuit against the Israel Police, charging they were abused while being searched after being arrested for entering a closed military zone at the outpost of Givat Or, near Beit El. The girls, ages 14 and 15 at the time, allege they were searched for an infraction that does not warrant extensive body searches according to Israeli law. The searches were carried out in an extremely inappropriate and immodest manner after they were taken to the Sha’ar Binyamin police station two years ago, they said.
The experience, they added, caused them great embarrassment and mental trauma. Now they are suing the police for half a million shekels in a lawsuit filed on their behalf by the Yesha Human Rights Center.
Police and IDF Civilian Administration soldiers serving under then-Defense Minister Ehud Barak also took apart the Jewish outpost Givat Or in November 2007, with police confiscating articles that belonged to the synagogue which was built on the hill. They uprooted a grove of olive trees planted in 2005 by Beit El youth. In addition, the police dismantled a roof that the Jewish settlers had placed on top of an existing Arab structure, and took apart partitions that had been put up around a well and a spring at the location.
Attorneys representing the girls said complaints were filed at the time. The delay in filing the lawsuit was due to the fact that their clients, as often is the case with abuse, had only recently recovered enough from the trauma to be able to withstand the stress associated with the process of suing Israeli police.
The girls had suffered “shame and depression when they were searched, and those feelings have not passed,” attorneys explained. The girls recently testified before a Knesset committee dealing with the status of women, headed by Likud MK Tzipi Hotovely.