ISRAEL – PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

Israeli police beat up handcuffed protester in East Jerusalem

Videos have emerged showing a handcuffed and limp protester being beaten up by two Israeli police officers in an alley. The scene, shot from two different angles by people filming from their windows, took place Thursday evening in Shuafat, a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem that’s been under high tension since the murder of a Palestinian teenager. Read more...

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UPDATE - 07/07/2014: The young man filmed in these images has been identified as Tariq Khdeir, a cousin of the young Mohammed who was found dead on Wednesday, July 2. A United States citizen of Palestinian origin, he was visiting his family in Shuafat when tensions flared. The 15 year-old was placed under house arrest for nine days, the amount of time it took to investigate the stone-throwing that the police accuse him of being behind. His family claim that policemen beat him when he was arrested and the United States is demanding an investigation. In an interview given to France 24, the young man, whose face remains swollen, said he didn't want to respond to violence with more violence.

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Videos have emerged showing a handcuffed and limp protester being beaten up by two Israeli police officers in an alley. The scene, shot from two different angles by people filming from their windows, took place Thursday evening in Shuafat, a neighbourhood in East Jerusalem that’s been under high tension since the murder of a Palestinian teenager.

Video broadcast by Palestine Today.

In this amateur video broadcast by the TV station Palestine Today, a protester can be seen on the ground, handcuffed, and surrounded by two men from Israeli police’s special forces unit. Taking turns, the policemen kick him and punch him, even though the man doesn’t seem to be trying to resist. He is then dragged on the ground to the side of a larger road, where the policemen are joined by colleagues in civilian clothing.

Video published on Facebook.

 

In this second video, the same scene is filmed from above. At first, the man is seen on his knees. One of the policemen has a gun pointed at him. The person filming moves to get a closer view. The next time we see the policemen, they’re dragging the man away, kicking him once in a while. In this second video, you can see that the man’s face is covered in a scarf, which is a technique that Palestinian protesters often use to hide their identities.

The neighbourhood of Shuafat has been the scene of violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police since Wednesday, which is when Mohammed Abu Khudair, a young resident of the neighbourhood, was found dead. Locals are convinced that the young man was killed as payback for the murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank on June 12.

According to the Palestinian Red Cross, 232 people have been injured in these clashes, six of them by live bullets.

“It seems to me that the special forces’ intervention is more about revenge than maintaining order”

Yassin Shaheed is the cousin of the Palestinian teenager who was found dead on Wednesday. He says that the young man in these videos, who several media outlets have identified as being Tarek Salah Abou Khudair, is also a relative.

Thursday was a very tense day here in Shuafat. As is often the case, the Israeli police officers were helped out by plainclothes officers, who managed to infiltrate the protest by pretending they were Palestinians. Several of them got up close to the group of protesters in an unmarked car. That’s when they started arresting people, with cover from the other police officers.

Some protesters tried to flee. Among them was Tarek. He ran down a side street. However, he got caught by special forces who were hiding out on a construction site. They violently beat him, as you can see in the videos.

We’re used to witnessing incidents with the police. In general, they hit protesters in the legs, the idea being to immobilise them down so they can arrest them. But yesterday, they were hitting just for the sake of violence. In Shuafat, six people who were taken away by the police had fractures [some of them were minors]. There were also several cases of broken legs and arms among the other protesters.

It seems to me that the special forces’ intervention was more about revenge for the three Israeli teenagers’ murder in Hebron than it was about maintaining order.

Tarek and three other members of our family are currently in custody. The news of Mohammed’s cruel murder has set off a real spiral of violence. The youth don’t even stop in the evening to break the Ramadan fast.

 

Contacted by FRANCE 24, Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld explained that the man in the video was arrested, along with five others, after “throwing stones and Molotov cocktails”. Asked about the brutality of the arrest, he said that the family had the right to file a complaint with the machash, the police unit in charge of internal investigations.