Israeli Cop Charged With Assaulting Palestinian at Jerusalem Checkpoint

Fadi and two friends were trying to cross the Hizmi checkpoint when an officer noticed one of them was married to a Jewish women, prompting what he calls a racist assault.

FILE PHOTO: Hizma checkpoint, West Bank.
Emil Salman

Israel's prosecution has announced that it plans to file charges against a border policeman suspected of assaulting a Palestinian at a Jerusalem checkpoint.

The incident occurred in January, when Fadi, a 32-year-old father of two from East Jerusalem, approached the Hizma checkpoint together with two friends. One of those friends is married to a Jewish woman, and Fadi told Haaretz that from the moment the policeman noticed her Jewish name, his attitude toward them changed completely.

“He tore up the sefah,” Fadi said, referring to the removable section of an Israeli identity card, which contains the person’s address, “and began cursing and asking where this came from. I didn’t talk with him; I was afraid.”

After that, according to the complaint Fadi eventually filed, the policeman ordered them to empty their car. He also threw several of the items on the ground, including a Koran and a child’s car seat.

Next, the policeman brought Fadi into the guard post and began beating him.

“He hit me with his rifle and spit at me,” said Fadi, who asked that his surname not be published. “It was racism; it was solely due to racism.”

He was released after about 90 minutes, bleeding from the mouth and with bruises on his back and other parts of his body.

During the incident, one of Fadi’s friends called the police around ten times to complain that he was being beaten up, “but they told him ‘It’s a checkpoint, we don’t care,’” Fadi said.

He also said he had large amounts of cash among his gear — $2,000 plus 1,000 shekels ($270) — but it disappeared while he was in the guard post.

With help from the human rights NGO, Yesh Din, Fadi complained to the Justice Ministry department that investigates police malfeasance and underwent a polygraph test. Recently, the department informed Yesh Din that it intends to indict the policeman for assault and making threats.

“This is another incident that demonstrates to what extent Palestinians are at the mercy of Israeli soldiers and policemen, who allow themselves to harm innocents on account of imaginary offenses,” Yesh Din said in a statement. “We hope that in light of the severity of this incident, the sentence imposed on the suspect policeman will deter others from harming Palestinians.”