Or Commission Timeline

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October 21, 2000In the shadow of violence and reports that live fire had been used against civilians, then-prime minister Ehud Barak decides to appoint a public commission of inquiry "to examine the police's behavior during the clashes with Arab demonstrators." Following pressure from the families of those killed in the October clashes, the Supreme Arab Follow-Up Committee announces that it will not cooperate with the commission of inquiry and demands the appointment of a state commission of inquiry.

November 8, 2000The government decides to set up a state commission of inquiry to investigate "the clashes between security forces and Israeli civilians."

November 15, 2000Supreme Court President Aharon Barak appoints Justice Theodor Or (who heads the panel), Prof. Shimon Shamir and Judge Sahel Jarah (who is forced to quit due to poor health and is replaced by Hashim Khatib) to the public panel. The families of the victims say they will cooperate with the panel but have reservations about the panel's letter of appointment.

Together with leaders of the Arab community, the families demand that the panel's mandate to examine the "behavior of the inciters and organizers from all sectors who took part in the event" be changed to instead focus on the reason for the deaths of 13 Israeli Arabs. Adalah, the legal center for Arab minority rights in Israel, claimed there was a legal flaw with the mandate, but the petition was rejected.

February 2001Following pressure from the Victims' Families Committee, the Follow-Up Committee announces a boycott of the prime ministerial elections. The families claim that then-prime minister Ehud Barak sent letters of apology and condolences to the families on the eve of the elections and even offered a financial settlement. Barak denies this.

March 2001Abdel Menem Abu Saleh pounces on Guy Reif, commander of the Misgav police station, as he testifies to the panel. Abu Saleh's son Walid was one of two people killed during riots in Sakhnin when Reif apparently fired live ammunition. Abu Saleh is indicted for assault, found guilty and sentenced to six months of community service.

April 2001Following the assault on Reif, a glass wall is set up in the hall where the hearings take place. The families of those killed gradually stop attending the hearings altogether.

February 2002After the commission sends letters of warnings to 14 officials, including Arab leaders, the families lose any remaining faith in the commission.

June-August 2002The victims' families stay away from the second stage of hearings, and a hall in Nazareth where the hearings were broadcast on close-circuit television remains deserted.

August 1, 2003The Victims' Families Committee announces it is boycotting the panel and calls on its members to step down, causing much embarrassment for the Follow-Up Committee.

August 28, 2003Adalah manages to get the Victims' Families Committee to agree to present a united front when the report is published. The organization agrees, but refuses to end its boycott of the commission.

August 30, 2003Just two days before the report is due to be published, the Follow-Up Committee issues a statement saying that the central question it will address will be, "Who was responsible for the deaths and what are their punishments?"



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