A Palestinian man from the West Bank who years ago was allegedly beaten by the spokesperson for an anti-occupation veterans group has been called in to give testimony by the Israeli police.
Israel Police have reopened the case into the Palestinian who Dean Issacharoff, the spokesperson for Breaking the Silence, claims he assaulted as a soldier in the Israeli army. Last month the prosecutor’s office closed the investigation into Issacharoff on grounds that the incident he described never happened, but it appears that the decision to reopen the case was made based on the testimony of another Palestinian.
Issacharoff was filmed describing how he beat a Palestinian who had thrown stones at him during his army service in the West Bank city of Hebron. The prosecutor’s office investigated the incident following demands from right-wing organizations pressure from Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked. From the testimony of Issacharoff’s commander, it appeared that the 2014 incident occurred during the arrest of a Palestinian named Hassan Julani, but Julani denied he had been subjected to violent treatment during his arrest.
The case against Issacharoff was therefore closed, prompting both Shaked and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to accuse Issacharoff of lying. Issacharoff stuck to his story and Breaking the Silence claimed the investigation was influenced by political pressure. Issacharoff said the person he had hit was not Julani but Faisal al-Natsheh, who confirmed Issacharoff’s account in an interview to Israel Television News Company, the news operation formerly known as Channel 2 News.
As a result, Breaking the Silence demanded that the prosecution acknowledge that it had made a mistake. Issacharoff’s lawyer, Gabi Lasky, asked the prosecution to make the material from its investigation available. The prosecutor’s office refused, but has now confirmed that Natsheh has been summoned by the West Bank District of the Israel Police to provide his account of events.
“Any relevant information submitted to the investigating authorities that raises suspicion of the commission of a crime justifies examining whether to open an investigation. That rule also applies to this case,” the Justice Ministry said.
Breaking the Silence, an activist group of Israeli army veterans who oppose Israel's occupation of the West Bank, has not been officially informed of developments in the case, but responded with the following after police summoned Natsheh: “By reopening the case, the prosecution is essentially retracting its conclusion that Dean lied, an important and justified move that should be welcomed. This time, as opposed to the previous investigation that was conducted negligently and unfairly, the prosecution would be expected to act with legal professionalism and integrity and to serve law and justice and not extraneous political interests. Any investigation that seeks the truth will reveal to the prosecution what every soldier who served in the territories knows – there cannot be an occupation without violence.”
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