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Statement: Israeli police using brutality and unnecessary force against peaceful protesters

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Editor’s Note: The following statement was issued today following the police crackdown Friday night on a protest in Haifa against the Israeli massacre in Gaza. 

Haifa. Saturday, 19 May 2018.

In light of recent barbaric and inhumane military actions carried out against unarmed protesting Palestinian civilians in Gaza by Israeli forces, culminating in the killing of 106 Palestinians, 15 of whom were children, and injuring more than 12,000 innocent civilians, and with the merciless excessive and unnecessary use of force, such as the use of live ammunition (over 3500 rounds), protests have erupted all over the world and in Israel in solidarity with Gaza and its victims. Amongst the many hotspots, Haifa experienced the highest number of Police brutality cases and arrests of activists and high school students. Demonstrators have been gathering daily to peacefully express their right to protest and stand by the “March of Return” victims. Police have escalated their intervention and use of violence against protesters each day culminating in the mass arrests and brutality witnessed on Friday night.

There is no doubt the Police and Special Forces on site were well equipped and prepared to disrupt the peaceful demonstration in Haifa. On Friday night it did not take long for the Police to barge in and charge the crowd, beating and making sporadic arrests clearly shown on all documented videos and pictures from the scene.

The Police brutality didn’t end here. Many of the detainees, if not all, reports are still incoming, were brutally beaten by the arresting officers while in custody in the Police station and interrogation rooms; moreover, some of the victims were rushed to the Emergency Room (ER) and even hospitalized for serious injuries. Amongst the hospitalized, Jafar Farah, Director of the Mossawa Center, who was rushed to the ER for a broken knee and severe chest and abdomen blunt trauma, following a brutal attack on him by Police officers while in custody.

We, at the Mossawa Center and Civil Society Organizations (signed below), express our deepest concerns and outrage at Police brutality and behavior against civilians, and demand the immediate release of all detainees. We request a full and independent inquiry into the unjustified arrests and the circumstances that led to beating handcuffed protesters while in Police custody.

The right to assembly, protest, and freedom of expression, some of the most basic of human rights, are systematically being suppressed at an alarming rate lately; furthermore, it is the state’s responsibility to protect those rights, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Moreover, if a state cannot protect the most basic of human rights of its citizens, the international community has the duty to intervene and take a firm and decisive stand.

Below is the list of detainees reported:

  1. Bilal Zidani
  2. Mahmood Taha
  3. Said Swidan
  4. Yoram Bar Chaim
  5. Jafer Farah
  6. Naif Shaquor
  7. Bisan Farah
  8. Majd Azzam
  9. Ali Mawassi
  10. Ammar Abu Qandeel
  11. Maher Salamy
  12. Mohammad Kayal
  13. Majd Kayal
  14. Anan Odeh
  15. Bashar Ali
  16. Fadi Andraus
  17. Najwan Abu Alala
  18. Oz Marinov
  19. Shady Kassis
  20. Osama Tanous

Signed by,

Mossawa Center
Women Against Violence
Al Tufula Center
Kayan – Feminist Organization
The Arab Association for Human Rights
The Arab Center for the Development of Social Media
Ad’ar – Forum of Professionals to Oppose the Murder of Women
Al Sewar- Feminist Arab Movement
Masar Instiute for Education
Entema wa Ataa
Galilee Institute
Al Mashghal
AWC – Arab Women in the Center
Association for the Defense of the Rights of the Internally Displaced (ADRID)
The Follow Up Committee of Arab Education Issues
Muntada – The Arab Forum for the Sexuality of Individual and Family
Tishreen – Al-Muthalath
Humanity Crew
Aswat – Palestinian Feminist Center for Sexual and Gender Freedoms
I’lam – Arab Center for Media, Freedom, Development, and Research
Baladna – Arab Youth Association
Al-Zahraa – The Organization for the Advancement of Women
Ma’an – The Forum of Arab Women’s Organizations in the Negev

Mondoweiss Editors

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8 Responses

  1. guyn on May 19, 2018, 4:18 pm

    Surely these protests must have been initiated by Hamas…

    • echinococcus on May 19, 2018, 5:36 pm


      They aren’t smart enough, these Zios.
      Nowadays if you want real traction in US-EU you gotta make it The Яussians Did It!

      • Stephen Shenfield on May 20, 2018, 9:25 am

        No. 18 in the list of detainees above is indeed one Marinov, clearly a Russian name! He must be the Russian agent who organized the provocation!

    • eljay on May 19, 2018, 6:47 pm

      || guyn: Surely these protests must have been initiated by Hamas… ||

      Hamas and anti-Semitism (a.k.a. “Jew hatred”) are the only two possible reasons Palestinians would have for reacting to decades of Zionist oppression, dispossession, colonialism, (war) crimes and religion-based supremacism.

  2. Rob Roy on May 19, 2018, 6:00 pm

    When will the ICC and the UN step in and arrest Israeli leadership for war crimes?

  3. chocopie on May 19, 2018, 9:33 pm

    Broken knee and chest and abdomen blunt trauma. They do it because they know the NYT will never report it. The only people who will ever find out about it are already on to them. Nikki Haley thinks it’s showing restraint when you only break their knees.

    • Kay24 on May 20, 2018, 5:53 am

      Not if they have journalists like Bari Weiss, who was doing the rounds, looking indignant that it was Hamas that was responsible for the massacre. No, she did not mention the word “occupation” or “land grabs”.

  4. Stephen Shenfield on May 20, 2018, 9:39 am

    If only for the sake of completeness, let me mention that in recent days there have also been at least two protests by ‘left’-Zionist peaceniks — one opposite the Likud office in Tel Aviv, which according to Uri Avnery drew about 500 protestors, and another, of similarly modest size, at Yad Mordechai Junction, a few miles to the east of the Gaza ‘border’, organized by Other Voice (Kol Acher), an organization of peace activists in the border area.

    I also came across a video about a woman who drove closer to the ‘border’ and berated soldiers she encountered there (‘Aren’t you ashamed when you visit your families?’). A soldier calmly informed her that she was in a closed military zone and her movement was blocked until she turned back. Comments to the video were along lines like: ‘What an idiot! The soldiers are there to protect YOU, you stupid woman!’

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