Footage Shows Border Policeman With Knee on Jerusalem Protester’s Neck

'If he had applied just a little more force, I wouldn’t have been able to breathe,' Yerushalmy said

Nir Hasson
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An Israeli border police officer puts his knee on a demonstrator to make an arrest during a protest, early Wednesday, July 22, 2020.
An Israeli border police officer puts his knee on a demonstrator to make an arrest during a protest, early Wednesday, July 22, 2020.Credit: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit
Nir Hasson

A border policeman was filmed late Tuesday night in Jerusalem holding a demonstrator on the ground with a knee on his neck.

The demonstrator, 28-year-old Uri Yerushalmy of Tel Aviv, said he was held on the ground after trying to prevent a policeman from hitting a female protester, and that the border policeman pressed his knee on his neck for several seconds. “If he had applied just a little more force, I wouldn’t have been able to breathe,” Yerushalmy said later.

For all the difference in the outcomes, the video recalled the May 26 killing of George Floyd by a Minnesota policeman who kept his knee on Floyd’s neck for minutes on end, despite Floyd’s saying “I can’t breathe,” setting off weeks of protest, much of it violent, across America.

Yerushalmy was one of thousands of protesters who attended a demonstration in Jerusalem's Paris Square demanding that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu resign.

Police said footage of the incident showed “a partial picture of a few seconds without the serious violence that preceded it and that was directed at the police at the scene.”

Police carry out an arrest at the Jerusalem protest, July 19, 2020.
Police carry out an arrest at the Jerusalem protest, July 19, 2020.Credit: Emil Salman

Police said a woman at the scene was arrested after she bit a policeman who had tried to get her off the street, and that he was attacked by a number of people, including the person in the footage later identified as Yerushalmy.

Police added that Yerushalmy had swung a bicycle seat at a policeman and kicked the policeman as he was being restrained.

Yerushalmy said: “From the moment police said to start to disperse the demonstration, they made a sort of chain and got an order to start pushing everyone. We weren’t violent. They just pulled out people at random and decided to arrest them. I saw a group of policemen near me who were pulling a 40-year-old woman to the ground, and one of the policemen punched her. I tried to stop him and held his arm, and he and another policeman pulled me and threw me to the ground. And then two or three policemen, I don’t know for sure, grabbed me. One grabbed me and another put his foot on my neck. It lasted a few seconds. It hurt but I wasn’t choking,” he said.

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