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Rights Group: State Encourages Police to Attack ‘Settlers’

The state of Israel encourages police to beat ‘settlers’ by vigorously defending violent officers, rights group says.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/29/2012, 9:18 AM

Police violence (archive)
Police violence (archive)
Flash 90

The primary cause of police violence against protesters is Israeli policy, human rights activist Orit Strook charged, speaking to Arutz Sheva from outside a courtroom.

“The foremost reason [for violence] is the protection that the State Prosecution extends to the officers,” she said. Strook also noted the “great determination” with which state attorneys defend violent officers against lawsuits.

A current case demonstrates the problem, she said. The state is paying for three attorneys to represent officers accused of extreme violence against a young Jewish protester during the eviction from Amona.

“It hurts that six and a half years later, we’re still fighting in court over Amona,” she said. “The state is making every effort to protect the officers”

Some of those hurt by police brutality in Amona will never see their attackers charged in court due to a statute of limitations, she noted.

Despite the problems, Strook said, the Yesha Human Rights Group has seen police violence decrease over the past few years. “When we first established the Yesha Human Rights Group, police violence against settlers and the right was terrible… It was really a pogrom, not [just] violence,” she recalled.

Today, violence against right-wing protesters is less common, she said. Police violence against those in the hareidi-religious world, where there is no equivalent to the Yesha Human Rights group, remains more frequent, she charged.

Regarding allegations of police violence against left-wing protesters in Tel Aviv, Strook said, “What happened to the leftists… I don’t think it’s OK.  It’s serious, every violence in serious – but it’s small change compared to what happened to us in the past, or even today.”