The sole Jewish member of the Israeli-Palestinian-dominated Joint List alliance has filed a complaint against Israeli police after he was allegedly beaten by officers during a protest in East Jerusalem on Friday.
Ofer Cassif described the incident as “a violation of the sovereignty and dignity of the Knesset” due to his status as a member of the Israeli parliament and filed a complaint with the ministry of justice. Police claim that Cassif had “dared” them to beat him.
The MK said this was “a string of lies” and warned he will ask Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to open an investigation “due to the possibility of attempts to obstruct the [police internal investigations department] investigation”.
Cassif told Kan that has received death threats and will file a complaint against these to the Knesset Guard, a unit designed to protect parliamentarians.
Joint List is a political alliance of four Arab-majority parties in Israel.
Members participated on Friday at a weekly protest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, against the expansion of Jewish settlements and planned evictions of Palestinian residents.
Footage of the incident showed Cassif arguing with officers before being pushed by one before being grabbed and punched.
The Joint List's Ofer Cassif says officers at Sheikh Jarrah were 'going wild, not letting people demonstrate' as weekly protest in support of the neighborhood's Palestinian residents draws large crowdhttps://t.co/PvjJceZ8vk
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) April 11, 2021
Other footage shows an officer apparently kneeling on Cassif’s face.
Cassif was not seriously injured in the incident but his glasses were broken and shirt ripped, drawing a wide range of voices in Israeli politics to condemn the alleged assault.
Reactions came from Joint List Ahmad Tibi who called it a “brutal assault”.
The Nakba of Sheikh Jarrah: How Israel is using 'the law' to ethnically cleanse East Jerusalem https://t.co/kJNLEnn2fi
— Middle East Monitor (@MiddleEastMnt) March 23, 2021
Right-wing lawmaker Gideon Saar tweeted that “the police’s brutal violence against him (Cassif) is a murderous blow to the parliament and to parliamentary immunity”.
Centrist opposition leader Yair Lapid also asked police to investigate the incident.
(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)