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Friday, April 21, 2006

Israeli Police Brutality

Remember 'Amona'?

On Thursday, a report was released regarding police violence at demonstrations, and the police are furious about it.

The report indicated that the police have no clear policy regarding use of force against demonstrators, and that there are no guidelines for conducting debriefings after violent demonstrations.

The study, commissioned by the Ministry of Internal Security, examined 100 demonstrations, and found that in 70 percent of incidents, violent confrontations broke out between police and demonstrators. [I wonder if any other 'democracy' in the world has a record this bad. CiJ] The most violence, the study found, occurred in demonstrations within the Arab sector. Moderate violence occurred in protests involving haredim, while protests held by the left wing, the right wing and groups with social welfare agendas tended to be the least violent.

The study was conducted prior to disengagement and the violent protests in the outpost of Amona in February. [In other words, if the study were conducted today, it would indicate that at least 'moderate' violence occurs in right wing protests as well. The statement about Haredi protests being violent does not surprise me. The police go after the Haredim with clubs the way they went after the revenants in 'Amona.' CiJ]

The Israel Police Spokesman's Office rejected the claims made in the report, saying it discussed old events. [Would they rather it had included the events of this past summer and winter? CiJ]

"The Israel Police has a well-defined strategy with regard to use of force toward demonstrators which is based upon graduated levels, as was evident during the events at Amona," a police spokesman said. [I cannot believe he's not embarassed to make a statement like that. CiJ]

Dr. Avraham Carmeli, a professor in the Graduate School of Business Administration and the Department of Political Science at Bar-Ilan University, and Iris Ravid-Yamin wrote the report, which also criticized lack of organizational memory within the police force, leading to repetitions of similar mistakes.

The Spokesman's Office said these charges were inaccurate, citing a computerized database developed to centralize police debriefings and post-incident reports, including those events in which force was used.

Carmeli and Ravid-Yamin called on the police to create a clear policy with regard to use of force as well as guidelines that demand that police establish a strategy for dealing with protests in advance of the actual demonstration. [Which they won't do since they have already rejected the report. CiJ]

In an effort to combat widespread violence against demonstrators, the report also recommended that police not relate to demonstrators as a single entity, but rather to pinpoint specific violent demonstrators. [But to do that, they would have to wait before they start hitting, rather than coming in with their horses and swinging clubs right from the outset. CiJ]


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