Israeli police assaulted the family of a Palestinian man at Sha'are Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem on Tuesday, after arriving to arrest the man, who is hospitalized in serious condition.
One of the family members needed medical treatment for injuries sustained during the confrontation with the police. The Palestinian man whom the police attempted to arrest is sedated and intubated after being hit in the head by a sponge-tipped bullet. He sustained the injury during the funeral of another Palestinian man who was wounded in clashes with Israeli police at the Temple Mount and later died of his wounds.
Eyewitnesses and sources within the hospital confirmed the details of the report.
The hospitalized man, 50-year-old Nadar al-Sharif, is a family member of Walid al-Sharif, 21, who died on Saturday, three weeks after sustaining a brain injury at the Temple Mount. Palestinian sources say that Walid was injured by a sponge-tipped bullet fired by Israeli police. The Israeli police claim that he fell and hit his head.
Nadar was a gravedigger at Walid's funeral. During the funeral procession on Sunday, serious clashes broke out between Israeli police officers and hundreds of young Palestinians accompanying the coffin. Nadar was seriously injured near the graveyard during the clashes.
Police arrived at the hospital around 7:30 A.M. to arrest Nadar. They cuffed him to the bed and ordered the family to leave the area. The officers accompanied Nadar's two brothers and cousin out of the emergency room and violently assaulted them, according to several eyewitnesses.
"I arrived at the emergency care department and suddenly saw police officers in helmets and with clubs shoving someone and telling him to leave," said a senior hospital official who asked not to be identified. "He hadn't done anything to them, and they continued violently shoving him and hitting him with their batons like an animal. I started to yell at them, but they ignored me. They toppled him on the ground, it was awful," the official said.
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Nasim al-Sharif, Nadar's brother, said: "We were with Nadar and two cops came in. One of them told me that my brother is a terrorist, and he's under arrest, and we couldn't be there anymore. They started pushing us, when we got to the door three special police motorcycles rolled up, with two officers on each one. They didn't say anything, they just started hitting us."
Another of Nadar's brothers, Na'al, took the brunt of the beating. He lost consciousness and was treated in the emergency room of the same hospital. Additional sources at the hospital confirmed the details of the assault.
Several hours later, the family was informed that Nadar was not under arrest, and they were allowed to visit him.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court refused the police request to extend the detention of most of those arrested at the funeral on Sunday. The judge noted that the police failed to provide evidence against 11 of the detainees and ordered that they be released to house arrest. The police plan to appeal to the district court, and in the meantime agreed to release the suspects to house arrest.
In a statement, Israeli police said: "Police forces were called this morning to Sha'are Tzedek Hospital in Jerusalem following a report of a brawl by one of the family members of the Palestinian man who had been hospitalized. Police officers arrived at the scene and noticed what was happening. They asked the family members to evacuate the scene, which they refused, and since there were many people, another team of policemen was called to the scene and were forced to use reasonable force to evacuate the family members, who entered the medical area without a permit and refused to evacuate.
"Contrary to the claim and after a primary initial investigation, no use of violent means was made during the incident, and as such allegations arise regarding the conduct of the police, they should be examined by the competent authorities," Israeli police added.