MK Amit Halevy (Likud) has sent a letter to Internal Security Minister Amir Ohana, appealing to him to address serious complaints regarding the Police Investigatory Department in Judea and Samaria and their treatment of “Hilltop Youth.”
“Over the past few days, a whole litany of evidence has come to my attention, in the wake of the death of Ahuvya Sandak and the investigations regarding the tragic incident, which has produced a very grave picture of the way in which police conduct criminal investigations in Judea and Samaria, conduct which demands your personal attention,” he wrote.
“The investigation into the death of Ahuvya is still in process, and I would like to hope that despite previous experience, it will result in the truth being uncovered and those found responsible being held to account. The thought that the police vehicle intentionally hit the car in which Ahuvya was traveling, leading to his death, is extremely disturbing, no less than the reports alleging that Ahuvya was left to bleed to death without anyone going to his aid, despite the pleas of his injured friends,” he added.
According to Halevy, “A clear policy must be established with regard to the way in which police treat Hilltop Youth – a policy that outlaws all manner of force, humiliation, or harm, other than in extreme and exceptional cases that are clearly defined in law where it may be found necessary to utilize force in order to protect the lives of police and/or citizens. To my distress, the picture that emerges from multiple sources is in sharp contrast to this – it appears that the regular behavior of police toward youth includes use of violence, shaming, and abuse that serves no purpose in enforcing the law. This creates the perception that police behavior stems from their hatred toward the youth and that police exploit the opportunities of their interactions with the youth in order to exact punishment and even revenge. Specifically, this practice of ramming into vehicles from behind has been documented at least three times and was even singled out by a court, three years ago, when the police were ordered to cease using such tactics when chasing after suspects.”
Halevy added that, “In contrast, investigations into nationalistic crimes perpetrated by Arabs virtually never take place; either that, or they are placed in the hands of local police instead of being investigated by the appropriate authorities. The impression is that this attitude stems from a delegitimization of the Hilltop Youth which deteriorates into a virtual dehumanization of them and creates an atmosphere of their blood being cheap.”
He then asked Minister Ohana to personally monitor the investigation into the death of Ahuvya Sandak, including its conclusions. “The most important thing is to ensure that there is a systemic change in the way police conduct themselves, and that the shortcomings in their behavior are addressed,” he concluded. “I would also be very grateful if, at an early stage, a meeting could be held in your office with representatives of the youth and their families, in order to hear their complaints first-hand.”