Settler Rights Groups File Complaints Over 'Police Brutality'

A minor from the Beit El settlement claims a police officer dragged him by his sidelock during clashes between settlers and police on Tuesday.

A minor from Beit El filed a complaint yesterday with the Police Investigation Department in the Justice Ministry in which he claimed that a police officer had dragged him by his sidelock during Tuesday's clashes between police and settlers over the demolition of illegal construction in the West Bank settlement.

The complainant said he was sitting in the road in order to delay the arriving forces when "a policeman came over to me - the force commander - and hit me between the legs with his baton. Then he seized my sidelock and dragged me. I felt humiliated, like a Diaspora Jew in Europe. That same officer was interviewed afterward by Channel 2 [television] and spoke about the violent settlers."

The Human Rights Organization of Judea and Samaria, which helped the minor file his complaint, said that other complaints of police brutality would follow in the coming days.

Israel Police said in a response that "the pictures speak for themselves, and you can clearly see that the policeman grabbed the youth's shirt, but he had long sidelocks. He [the officer] did not intentionally grab the sidelock."

Moreover, it said, eight police officers were injured by settler violence, necessitating the use of force.