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Five Israeli Officers charged with robbery and assault of Palestinians

Photo of Israeli police in 2017

Five Israeli Border Police officers have been charged with 14 cases of robbery and assault, against Palestinian men entering Israel on Thursday.

The officers are suspected of stealing thousands of shekels and beating Palestinian men as well as breach of trust and obstructing an investigation.

The five officers were identified as Amir Edri, the alleged commander of the unit, Tal Yosef Mizrahi, Uri Medina, Refael Hazan and Lidor Zafriri.

The five officers would allegedly wait for Palestinian men near a hole in the security fence in the southern West Bank and then assault them and steal their money.

In one instance, they allegedly approached Palestinian men as they crossed the fence and demanded they lie on the ground at gunpoint, then proceeded to beat the men and steel thousands of shekels.

Attorney Adi Vallenerman from the police investigations unit said that "the accused perpetrated their crimes while dressed in police uniform and armed with police weapons. [They] exploited their status and the confidence given to them... to threaten their victims and force them to surrender to their demands."

Alleged cases of abuse

One video recorded on a cellphone showed Mizrahi arresting a Palestinian man, hitting him 20 times with a wooden club and singing the Hebrew version of “eenie meenie minie mo.”

Another video showed Edri one of the officers kicking a Palestinian man in the face until he bled, then continued to order him to take off his pants and walk to the nearest checkpoint.

In one instance a Palestinian man tried to flee but one of the officers grabbed him, hit him and shouted, “You're running away you son of a bitch...you don't realize that we're crazy" then proceeded to take 1,400 shekels while the other officers kicked and slapped him.

One senior source in law enforcement commented on the investigation stating;

“they behaved like a gang of criminals in every sense of the term."

Read more from Haaretz here and here.

 

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