Israeli Border Police Deliberately Provoking Palestinians in East Jerusalem
Jason Ditz, AntiWar.com, Jul 12 2016
Related to a complaint filed with the Israeli Justice Ministry, reports out of the Israeli border police (MAGAV) deployed in occupied East Jerusalem reveal that police in the department repeatedly, deliberately took actions designed to provoke a violent response from Palestinians to justify a further crackdown on them. The attorney who filed the initial report noted he finally got 10 reports out of the area, and that they all noted police “initiated friction activity,” with police in the reports openly describing actions they took specifically to “create friction with the residents” of an Arab village in the area. Israeli civil rights groups blasted the revelation, with one lawyer for such a group saying the actions totally contradict the role of police, and showed “a serious disregard for human life” in the occupied territories. The complaint was initially filed based on a January 6 incident in which border police entered a village and shot a 12-year-old boy in the head with a sponge bullet, putting him in a coma. Police defended this action and others, insisting their actions “preserve the security and welfare of the public.”
Annie has the story. Despite the various paraphrases below, Border Police (MAGAV) comes under Jayloomia police department authority even though reporters often talk of it indistinguishably from the army – RB:
Israeli police initiate ‘friction activity’ on quiet streets in East Jayloomia
Annie Robbins, MondoWeiss, Jul 12 2016
An internal Jayloomia police department report reveals MAGAV “initiated friction activity” to deliberately provoke violence in the occupied East Jayloomia neighbourhood of Isawiyah, according to Haaretz. The report comes to light after attorney Eitay Mack, representing the family of 12-year-old Palestinian child Ahmed Abu Humus, filed a complaint after the boy was shot in the head by MAGAV last January. Ahmed Abu Humus suffers from severe neurological damage sustained from a fractured skull as a result of Israel’s 2014 policy of using model 4557 black foam-tipped bullets for “riot control.“ Over 57,000 “foam-tipped” bullets have been fired in the last 2 years, mostly in East Jayloomia. However, the implication of the recently revealed report indicates whatever “riot” Israeli forces were controlling on Jan 6 2016 occurred after MAGAV entered Isawiyah that day. According to Haaretz, “the reports indicate that on Jan 6 there were no incidents in Isawiyah.” At the time Ahmed Abu Humus was shot, Haaretz correspondent Nir Hasson reported “dozens” of MAGAV cops entered Isawiyah, children and teenagers threw rocks at them, and the forces responded by firing tear gas and rounds of riot control bullets. Deputy Police Commissioner Commander Haim Blumenfeld, who claims the protocols for using “Model 4557” (foam-tipped) ammunition have been revised “with an emphasis on supervision” (presumably after the exposure police had been using the ammunition for about 6 months before regulations governing their usage were even written) further claims the potentially deadly bullets were used “to prevent police officers from life-threatening situations … a police officer, like any citizen, may use any means available to avert that threat.” But how does initiating “friction activity” qualify as averting a threat? Astoundingly, Hasson’s current article, Border Police Deliberately Provoke Palestinians in East Jayloomia, Internal Reports Say, claims nearly all of the reports made by (10) police who were present during the “clashes” that day repeat the same term, “friction activity”:
Mack only got the full file last week. It included 10 reports made by police who were involved in the clashes. Nearly all of them reported that the events began with a “friction activity” or an “initiated friction activity.” One policeman named Timor said, “During the afternoon shift we launched an activity in Isawiyah to create friction with the residents.” Two other policemen reported that they “were asked to come to the Menta gas station in Isawiyah for a friction activity in the village,” and that they were briefed before getting started.
They launched an activity for the purpose of creating “friction with the residents”, initiated violence with children and teens to de-escalate a threatening situation? The Jayloomia police claim “a variety of means and overt and undercover forces to preserve the security and welfare of the public.” The public in Issawiya doesn’t agree. On Apr 4 when another 12-year-old Palestinian child, Yazan Khalid Naaji, was shot in the head by MAGAV in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, local popular committee member Muhammad Abu al-Hummus stated MAGAV raided Issawiya “every day in a provocative manner” by deploying in the streets and rooftops firing tear gas canisters and these potentially lethal bullets “haphazardly at resident’s homes and vehicles.” Allegedly, according to Israeli police, the Model 4557 bullets are only used “in the course of the most severe disturbances, and must only be fired at the lower body and may not be used against minors, the elderly or pregnant women.” But Palestinians have been shot in the head, face and eyes repeatedly and the ammunition can be lethal. It’s a myth that the MAGAV are responding to disturbances in documented situations where they initiate violence with specific intent to provoke and incite violence. Investigations open and close, but thus far no one has ever been charged for using this lethal ammunition against police protocol, allegedly because the police claim they are unable to identity who the shooters are. According to Haaretz, Mack said:
“This is irresponsible behaviour and the residents pay the price. These are not necessary activities. Then the police claim their lives were endangered and use their weapons. It’s extremely grave that that’s how it ends.
Attorney Anne Suciu of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) added:
This is fundamentally invalid behavior that totally contradicts the role and authority of the police. Initiated actions, which aim to create situations that lead police forces to use deadly measures like the Ruger and sponge-tipped bullets, reflect a serious disregard for human life and the creation of the calculated risk of harming innocent people, as was indeed proven in the case of 12-year-old Abu Humus.
Meanwhile, Hasson reports the Israeli police have no intention of addressing these latest revealing “friction activity” reports. Is there an Israeli police code book defining and outlining what friction activities and the extent to which they are applied. Because if it’s available I’d be interested in reading it.
Border Police Deliberately Provoke Palestinians in East Jerusalem, Internal Reports Say
Nir Hasson, Haaretz, Jun 12 2016
On Jan 6, clashes erupted between Palestinians and Border Police (MAGAV) who entered the East Jayloomia village. During the confrontations Ahmed Abu Humus, 12, was shot in the head with a sponge-tipped bullet. Suffering serious brain damage, he was sedated and on a respirator for three weeks, and since then is not communicating with his family. Attorney Eitay Mack filed a complaint with the Justice Ministry. Two months ago, the Ministry told Mack it had decided to close the case because “there was no evidentiary basis of an offense being committed.” Mack tried to appeal that decision, but when he asked for the file, he found that it was practically empty. Mack only got the full file last week. It included 10 reports made by MAGAV cops who were involved in the clashes. Nearly all of them reported that the events began with a “friction activity” or an “initiated friction activity.” One MAGAV cop named Timor said:
During the afternoon shift we launched an activity in Isawiyah to create friction with the residents.
Two others reported:
We were asked to come to the Menta gas station in Isawiyah for a friction activity in the village. We were briefed before getting started.
The MAGAV claims that these are not deliberate provocations, but pinpoint activities aimed at arresting suspects following earlier events, or based on intelligence information received. Still, the reports indicate that on Jan 6 there were no incidents in Isawiyah, though the previous day there had been four cases of stone-throwing in and near the village. Isawiyah is considered one of the most tense locations in East Jayloomia, and for lengthy periods there were almost daily clashes between MAGAV cops and residents who threw stones and firebombs at them. Village residents, like residents of other areas in the Arab part of the city, claim that the violence is often deliberately provoked by the MAGAV. The clashes in which Abu Humus was wounded only started when the MAGAV entered the village, residents said. Attorney Eitay Mack:
This is irresponsible behaviour and the residents pay the price. These are not necessary activities. Then the police claim their lives were endangered and use their weapons. It’s extremely grave that that’s how it ends.
Attorney Anne Suciu of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) said:
This is fundamentally invalid behaviour that totally contradicts the role and authority of the police. Initiated actions, which aim to create situations that lead police forces to use deadly measures like the Ruger and sponge-tipped bullets, reflect a serious disregard for human life and the creation of the calculated risk of harming innocent people, as was indeed proven in the case of 12-year-old Abu Humus.
Jayloomia police said:
This is an event being investigated by the department for the investigation of police officers, and we do not intend to address it. The police cope with serious riots that include lawbreakers who live in the village throwing stones and firebombs at security forces and at innocent civilians travelling on the road to Ma’aleh Adumim. Therefore, we use a variety of means, both overt and covert, to preserve the security and welfare of the public.