Police Grab PLO Flag as MKs were About to Light It
Police used force to prevent MKs Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben Ari of Otzma Leyisrael (Power to Israel) from burning a PLO flag outside the UN headquarters at Armon Hanatziv in Jerusalem Thursday.
The Knesset Members intended to protest the expected UN decision to upgrade the Palestinian Authority's status.
Police broke up a circle of protesters, pushed the legislators and prevented them from burning the PLO flags. Bentzi Gopstein, who heads Otzma Leyisrael's election HQ, was arrested.
"The State of Israel ignores the burning of Israel's flag in every Arab village but sends police to violently grab flags from Knesset members who want to declare – 'there will be no Arab state'," said Eldad.
Eldad and Ben-Ari said Thursday evening that they will file a complaint with the Policemen's Investigations Unit about being violently attacked by officers during the demonstration.
Ben-Ari is suffering from bruises all over his body and a scratch on his right hand that was allegedly caused by an officer who tried to grab a PLO flag that the two Knesset members wanted to set on fire.
He said, with Eldad, "Even though we warned the police that we are members of the Knesset and they cannot treat us with any form of violence, and despite the fact that they addressed us in the knowledge that we are members of the Knesset, that did not stop them from using violence to defend the flag of the PLO, to violate the freedom of expression of members of Knesset, all under the pretense of maintaining public order."
The two Knesset members succeeded in burning a PLO flag at a later hour, as a photo posted on their Facebook page shows.
Photos by Flash 90