Daily Israel Report

"Don't Take Part in Expulsions", Lawyer Warns Policemen

'The Police Dep't won't back you up if you face trial for mistakes made during expulsions', warns lawyer defending accused police officer.
By A7 Staff
First Publish: 2/20/2012, 2:13 PM

Orit Strook
Orit Strook
Israel news photo

Inspector Ilan Malka, the police officer in charge of the Samaria District’s Juvenile Department, is facing trial these days because of acts he performed while implementing the writ to freeze illegal construction in Yitzhar.

In the course of the conflict with the police that took place at the time, two ‘settlers’ lay down under a police van so as to try to prevent their friends’ arrests. Inspector Malka was one of the officers present. In an attempt to persuade one of the ‘settlers’ to allow the police to do their job, he was filmed warning him as is required by police procedure. When the person addressed refused to comply, Malka sprayed pepper gas in the man’s face.

At this point, Malka was acting according to procedure, but one minute later, he was filmed spraying pepper gas again – this time at the face of an already arrested “settler’ and for no apparent reason. A lawsuit has been filed against him.

Malka’s lawyer, Att’y Benny Katz, told Arutz Sheva that he regrets to say that the Police Department abandons its fighters when they are in trouble: “When there are disturbances, accompanied by behavior that doesn’t recognize police authority, and when all around you they are burning tires and lying down under the police vans, you feel threatened if you are a policeman. You see masses of people coming down the hills towards you and preventing you from driving away in your van. Under those circumstances, when there is such confusion, the police are compelled to use force.”

Katz claims that it is unreasonable to send policemen on missions that expose them to the danger of lawsuits. “They were sent to do a job. It is a far from simple job and the minute force is used, the policemen are vulnerable to lawsuits that endanger their livelihoods and future. The police want to do their job, finish it and go home. In the fifteen years I have been dealing with criminal law, this kind of case comes up again and again."

Katz claims that many policemen prefer to stand idly on the side waiting, he says, for a naïve policeman to come and do the dirty work. “I hear hard words from the men out in the field. Policemen are put into impossible positions. Today, when everything is filmed and documented, they are exposed to lawsuits. I know that many policemen are being sued and have asked not to be sent to these areas.  In this incident, ten officers sat around waiting for Malka to arrive and do the job. They waited for the sucker to do the dirty work.”

He added that since his client is getting no backing from police quarters, he advises policemen not to take part in expulsions of Jews in Judea and Samaria. “My message to you is to stand on the side and wait for one of the big brass or one of the pencil pushers to come and do the work. In this case, unfortunately, my client has suffered personal harm, his advancement has been stopped, his wages delayed. He was an outstanding officer, but the department is not standing by him.”

The Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria, which filed both the complaint and ensuing lawsuit against Malka, has been following the proceedings, and expressed its satisfaction with his being brought to trial. Organization head Orit Strook has promised to continue taking action against policemen who resort to violence.