Yediot exposes police lying on suppression of East Jerusalem protests
After an interlude, the Jerusalem police resumed arrests of Sheikh Jarrah protesters last Friday (March 12 2010.) On Sunday, the Jerusalem Post, like many other Israeli media outlets, ran the police statement on the incident nearly verbatim
Earlier on Friday, about 250 locals and left-wing protesters were stopped by police when they attempted to march toward Jewish houses in Sheikh Jarrah. Police declared that such a march would be illegal and ordered the protesters to return to the site of the demonstration. When they refused to do so, they were pushed back by force. They then began to chant slogans criticizing the Jewish presence in the neighborhood. Eight demonstrators were detained following the incident.
The protest organizers told a very different story and backed it up with photos and video. The media, however, are not usually inclined to fact check official statements. Note how the Post did not even add “police said,” even though the correspondent was clearly not present at the incident.
There are valuable exceptions, however. Last year, Coteret followed Globes columnist Matti Golan as he demonstrated how the IDF spokesperson had become accustomed to Israeli journalists happily filling the role of stenographers. Fortuitously, also on Sunday, Yediot published photographic evidence of blatant lying by the police regarding another incident East Jerusalem incident on Friday: The running over of a teenage Palestinian protester in Ras Al-Amud by a police vehicle. Below is a full translation of the article, with the photos at bottom.
Ronnie Shaked and Yaron Doron, Yediot, March 14 2010 [page 6; Hebrew original here]
Who really ran over the 14-year-old youth during the demonstrations that took place on Friday in Jerusalem’s Ras el-Amud neighborhood? The police contend that he was hit by a “white Subaru, evidently driven by an Arab,” but the photos shot by Yedioth Ahronoth photographer Atta Awisat expose the truth: the youth is lying underneath the tires of a police vehicle.
When rioting broke out in East Jerusalem prior to Friday morning Arab prayers, police went into action to quell the disturbances. A police vehicle traveling at high speed rushed into one of the streets of the Ras el-Amud neighborhood, in order to catch rock-throwers. En route, the vehicle hit a youth. The police in the vehicle took off in pursuit of rock-throwers, and, after detaining several of them, noticed the youth who had been hit by the vehicle’s rear wheel hobbling away on his injured leg. It later turned out that he sustained a broken foot.
The police arrested the youth, brought him to the Russian Compound and contacted his family. “Your son is under arrest and injured,” family members were told. “Come down to the station to pick him up and take him to the hospital,” the police said. The youth’s uncle, Jamil, arrived at the station. “I entered shed No. 4, and found my nephew sitting on the floor,” the uncle said yesterday. “The investigator asked me to lift him, place him on a chair and bring him into the interrogation room. I did what the policeman asked, and he allowed me to be present during questioning,” Jamil said.
During the questioning, the youth denied throwing stones. “It was a coincidence that I was on that street,” the youth said. “A white vehicle came along very fast and hit me. The police arrested me and brought me to the Russian Compound,” the youth said.
The uncle, who was not yet aware that it was a police vehicle that had hit his nephew, asked the investigator why the police hadn’t stopped the car and attempted to identify it. He claimed that the police officer said, “We were in the middle of operational activity, and during a war we’re not interested in motor vehicle accidents, but rather the mission itself.” The investigator asked the uncle to take the youth to the hospital, and said, “because he’s injured, we won’t arrest him.” According to the uncle, when he asked why the police didn’t take the youth for medical treatment, the investigator answered, We were in the middle of a skirmish, and didn’t notice that he was injured.” From the police station, the youth was taken to Hadassah Mt. Scopus Hospital. An x-ray showed that he had a broken foot, which was put in a cast.
The photos taken by the Yedioth Ahronoth photographer clearly indicate that the youth was hit by a police vehicle, but the police assert that this is not the case. According to the uncle, the police at the station told him that he was hit by “a fast-traveling white vehicle, which then fled the scene.” One detail in this description is correct: it was a white vehicle. But there’s no denying that it was a police vehicle, according to the license plate.
In an official response, the police said: “The youth, together with several other Arab youths, were throwing stones at Border Police. In his statement to the police, the youth said he was hit by a white Subaru, evidently driven by an Arab. The vehicle fled the scene of the accident. When the youth pointed out to the investigators his minor injuries, he was released for medical treatment at the hospital.” The police also say they are looking for the driver of the vehicle in question.
Yedioth Ahronoth again contacted the police, saying they had solid evidence that the youth had been, in fact, hit by a police vehicle. But police are sticking to their story that it is falsified evidence, intended to heat up an already exacerbated situation. Is the evidence faked? The photos on these pages speak for themselves.