Jerusalem Commander Shacham Suspended in Criminal Case

Niso Shacham, best known for the 'heavy hand' he took against anti-Disengagement protesters, has been suspended

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David Lev,

Niso Shacham
Niso Shacham

Israel National Police Commander Yochanan Danino on Thursday ordered the immediate suspension of several high-ranking police officers – among them Commander Niso Shacham, who ordered and directed the “heavy hand” policies of the police during the period of the disengagement from Gaza and northern Samaria.

Shacham has been questioned in what was described on Israel Radio as a “very serious case,” along with several other officers. Details were not revealed, as a gag order has been placed on all information in the case. A report on Israel Radio said that the case was criminal in nature.

Besides Shacham, another top officer, Nissim Edri, commander of the Tziyon police station in Jerusalem, has been suspended. Shacham, who was commander of the central division of the Israel Police, has been replaced for now by Commander Mani Yitzchaki. Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich has been updated on the case, and will issue a statement later today, his office said.

Shacham is most “famous” for his handling of the mass protest in Kfar Maimon several weeks before the eviction of some 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif. Shacham, who at the time was Commander of the police Southern Division, ordered police to “rough up” protesters. “I know these Hareidim,” he was overheard saying, according to recordings. “I want arrests, that's what will break them... If you need to, then hit them with your nightsticks.”

He also instructed officers to hit protesters in their legs and midsections, where they would be most vulnerable. And, to top it off, he rattled off a long series of curses and obscene references to the youths who were protesting against the Disengagement, saying that “they are going to have to pay” for their defiance of the state. After his behavior came to light, Shoham was reprimanded and fined. He apologized for his behavior, but the following year he was promoted to Commander of the Jerusalem Division.

Many have the impression that he has “repented” of his previous path. Shacham was highly praised by Jews living in Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem for his efforts to protect public safety in their neighborhoods, arresting Arabs who harassed and attacked Jews.