Israeli Police's Violent Arrest of Arabs in Jaffa Caught on Camera

'They started beating me on the head with handcuffs, and four of them attacked me inside the car and hit me'

Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg
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Israel police in Jaffa where the two were arrested and attacked on March 18, 2020.
Israel police in Jaffa where the two were arrested and attacked on March 18, 2020.
Bar Peleg
Bar Peleg

Two Arabs were attacked by Israeli police during their arrest on Wednesday in Jaffa, photographs and videos of the incident obtained by Haaretz show.

Police said the two, who required medical attention following the arrest, interrupted a search in the neighborhood of Givat Aliyah neighborhood for suspects who allegedly attacked officers.

The footage and photographs of the incident were turned ove to the Justice Ministry's department for the investigation of police officers. The two residents intend to file an official complaint with the department next week.

One of the young men attacked by police.
One of the young men attacked by police.

The two said they were walking down the street on their way to a kiosk as they passed a police car looking for two people who attacked police earlier in the evening. According to one of them, a 24-year-old with no criminal record, police officers began attacking him for no reason.

He said that the officers put him in the patrol car, hit him, gave him a deep cut over the eyebrow and further bruise his head. His friend was also beaten and was sent from the station to a Hospital for medical treatment.

“I don’t know why they hit me. It was so sudden,” one of the men told Haaretz. “I didn’t talk to them at all. They started beating me on the head with handcuffs, and four of them attacked me inside the car and hit me. Later they stitched the wound over my eye, I was hit multiple times on the head and my ear hurts.”

Footage of the incident.

The young man was questioned at the police station on suspicion of insulting a police officer, but he said nothing. “I told the investigator what happened and she told me that I had offended the police officers, claiming I told him ‘why weren’t you burned in the Holocaust,’” he said. “I didn’t say anything to him; I didn’t even look at him. I’m crippled in the back - am I looking for someone to quarrel with?”

The Jaffa resident was released from the station and headed to the emergency room to receive medical treatment where he was referred to receive treatment elsewhere due to the coronavirus epidemic.

The head injury of one of the young men attacked by police.
The head injury of one of the young men attacked by police.

The other young Arab, a 23-year-old security guard, noted that one of the officers had attacked him twice before. He was questioned over allegedly assaulting a police officer, and filed complaints to the police. “We were walking down the street and then a police officer asked me to put the phone down. I didn’t answer and I immediately got a kick in the stomach and was on the floor,” he recounted. “Cops picked me up and put me in the car, hit me and cursed at me and my family.”

“One of the police officers said, ‘Leave it, it’s for me, I’ll take care of it’,” he continued. “He took my phone, found my sister’s and my mom’s pictures, talked about them inappropriately and humiliated me. Then I found out that he had also deleted the photos from my phone, including the ones documenting when he had previously beaten me. At the end he told me: ‘Go complain to the Justice Ministry one more time, I’ll fuck you and the Justice Ministry. At the station I could not stand on my feet with back pain and only after two hours they called me an ambulance, when a lawyer intervened. It is as if there is no law in this country,” said one of the men, who has a back disability. He was released from the police station and put on a five-day house arrest.

Other Arab residents of Jaffa described on social networks Wednesday evening several other incidents of violence by police, as well as reported random searches of their apartments. Haaretz learned that this happened after two other young men attacked two police officers.

The Israel Police said in response: “During a police operation to arrest suspects for assaulting police officers, a number of suspects attempted to thwart their activities and were then arrested for questioning at the police station, at the end of which they were sentenced to five days’ detention and their investigation is ongoing. In light of the allegations raised in their investigation into the police, the investigation material was sent by the police to the Justice Ministry, and we will not be able to elaborate on this at this stage.”