Violent Israeli Police Abuse Investigated In West Bank
By Jim Scanlon
An Israeli police investigation, begun in
December 2002, has resulted in the arrest and detention of 4 Israeli Border
Policemen in the beating and death of an 18 year old Palestinian. A week later
8 more Border Policemen were arrested and charged.
The Palestinian youth was allegedly beaten and thrown out of a moving vehicle by four policemen in retaliation for the death of one of their comrades killed in a gun battle with Palestinian insurgents. The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem paid for an autopsy which confirmed the youth's suffered head injuries consistent with having been beaten. Border Police officials had issued denials of any involvement by members of their organization.
The Israeli Ministry of Justice began its investigation after being informed of the incident by the newspaper Ha'aretz and the investigation has now been extended beyond the murder to systematic abuse by border policemen including firing stun grenades into Palestinian crowds without provocation, slashing tires, smashing car windows and stealing money and equipment of Palestinians stopped for questioning.
The first four arrested all have Arabic names (Shahar Butbika, Bassam Wahabi, Dennis al-Hazub and Yanai Lalzeh) and were all reported to be on regular army duty at the time of arrest. Ha'aretz reported that In the Hebron area there are some 30 ongoing investigations into the conduct of Border Policemen.
One can only admire Ha'aretz, the Israeli Ministry of Justice and B'Tselem for their commitment to truth and justice under what must be very difficult circumstances, in the midst of a long standing, violent conflict.