The following report made me mad as hell. It is not that I wasn't aware of the basic outlines of the story. However, the organization and documentation of this information makes it much harder for men of good will to ignore. That a segment of Israeli society was signaled out for massive officially sanctioned abuse is shocking. The Jews of YESHA and Hebron are among the best, most Zionist, most patriotic Jews of Israel. It is their heroic presence in Judea and Samaria that will save Israel in the long run. Had they not been there, those parts of Eretz Yisrael would have already been lost. The strategic mountains of Judea and Samaria, 40% of Israel's water supply and its most sacred Holy Places would be in the hands of the vicious anti-Semitic terrorists of the PLO.
These Israeli patriots had to endure endless attacks by hostile Arabs. Their families were in constant danger. Travel from place to place was a dangerous adventure. They were shot, stoned, bombed and yet they stayed to defend the Jewish right to the Land. One would have hoped that the Israeli government would treat them fairly. This didn't happen. Instead they became victims of Kafkaesque persecution. The army was supposed to protect them, but instead protected the Arabs. The judicial system was mobilized to crush their spirit and their freedom.
The Freeman Center recommends that all person's involved in this evil activity be striped of their positions without any pension rights. This includes military officers, police, secret service personnel, and judges. They should be bared for life from any public employment. While the past can not be changed, it is possible to cleanse Israeli society of these vermin......
Bernard J. Shapiro, Editor
The Hebron Press Office -- March 22, 1998
The following is the introduction to the pamphlet: Law Enforcement in Hebron - Discrimination and Perversion of Justice Published by B'Tzedek and The Jewish Community of Hebron
During the years 1994-95 a committee, under the direction of the previous Attorney General, Michael ben Yair, designed "special law enforcement rules for the settlers in the territories."
The aim of these "special rules", (which were not publicized, and therefore are not available to the authors of this pamphlet), was joint, synchronized action by various law enforcement agencies, including the police, the IDF, Israeli intelligence (Shabak) and the prosecutor's office, against the entire Jewish population in Judea, Samaria and Gazza (Yesha). Their goal was the suppression of all displays of opposition by this portion of the population to the Oslo Accords, and to the Rabin Government's course of action in Yesha. The basic attitude of those who put together these "special rules" (utilizing a distorted version of the Shamgar Commission results) was a reference to the entire setter population as to a society of criminals and law-breakers, which must be restrained and suppressed. A special emphasis was placed on The Jewish Community of Hebron.
The present study, based on hundreds of documents and dozens of accounts, reviews and divulges the unique way in which the police behaved towards Hebron's Jewish residents. This political persecution activated large amounts of police against the community as a whole, utilizing suppression, violence, hostility, invasion of privacy, searches for needles in a haystack, and massive criminal charges, most of which are fictitious, ridiculous and outright lies.
At the same time a special team in the prosecutor's office, today directed by attorney Talia Sasson, refused to allow the cessation of these cases. As a result of this conduct, the community was forced to endure inequality before the law, clear discrimination, and a blemishing of an entire community, labeled as criminals. Hebron's Jews suffered numerous and diversified damages: physical and psychological, and monetary. The community's good name was maligned. Their fundamental rights, as well as the right to bear arms for reasons of self-defense were subjectively abrogated. These are the. results of the "special rules."
This report proves that even after several years of these 'special rules' the Jewish population of Hebron, statistically has one of the smallest percentages of crime in Israel, as compared to other areas in the country. This fact absolutely disproves the fundamental principals of the committee which prepared the "special rules" and obligates their immediate dismissal.
The first appendix of this report reveals an ugly picture depicting the treatment by law enforcement agencies (the police and military prosecutors) to Arab criminals in Hebron. The Arab population is treated as gently as possible, even negligently. These same Arab criminals are the direct cause of daily attacks against Hebron's Jewish population. This report proves that Hebron's police take a selective approach to law enforcement.
As previously written, a copy of the 'special rules' are not in our hands. Therefore we cannot say whether this 'process' was pursued accurately and precisely, as dictated by its initiators, or whether the original decision was erroneously and exaggeratedly exercised.
However, it would be expected that, at the very least, the authors of the 'special rules' and those in the Justice Ministry who presently enforce them, to periodically analyze these decisions, and ascertain that they do not cause the sorts of discrimination described in this report.
In any democratic regime, it would be appropriate for such 'special rules' if actually in existence, to be accessible to public criticism, in order to allow the public to judge them, their initiators and enforcers.
B'Tzedek and The Jewish Community of Hebron demand:
1. Disclosure of all the protocols, documents, letters, and the full version of the "special law enforcement rules for the settlers in the territories."
2.Implementation of a single law enforcement policy, and total equality under the law for all of Israel's citizens, including resident of Yesha and Hebron.
3. Equal and proportionate law enforcement to the total Hebron population, Jews and Arabs alike, with a stress on severe criminal activity.
4. A delaying of all legal investigations and cases pending against Hebron's Jews, as a result of the 'special rules' and a review of all the pending cases, leading to termination of all cases resulting from the 'special rules.'
5. Changing of all Hebron's police staff and transferring of all police and officers involved in serious confrontations or who have been charged with serious offenses, in an attempt to create a normal police-citizen relationship.
Excerpts from the first chapters of the report:
1. According to people in the Justice Department 'there is potential for an unhealthy relationship between the police and settlers because they are in too close a proximity one to the other.'
2. 'It is necessary to send more police investigators into the territories even at the cost of police work in other fields.'
Two items, suggested by attorney Michael Shaked, and were rejected:
1. Quick judicial hearings in military courts: This was rejected by Prime Minister Rabin and Chief of Staff Ehud Barak
2. Reduction of the punishment age for children, from 12 to 9. This was rejected because of mass public opposition.
1. Increase in numbers of police in Yesha
2. Most of the Jewish police identify closely with the Yesha residents who have suffered as have the settlers. One of the ways to deal with this was to hire many more non-Jewish police.
3. Formation of special police units to deal with Yesha.
4. Orders were given to deal with the settlers with an 'iron fist.'
5. Orders were given to increase the number of complaints against Jewish settlers.
6. Orders were given to make as many arrests as possible and to demand that the suspects be held in custody in all cases.
7. A special team was initiated within the prosecutor's office, led by Michael Shaked, to oversee investigations and pending cases. This team prevented the cessation of any prosecution involving Hebron residents, even in cases where the judge suggested stopping the proceedings.
8. Cases in which there was only one witness were prosecuted.
9. Cases were prosecuted in spite of the fact that serious charges were brought against the police officers involved.
Over 100 indictments were handed down against a population of 500, including against children under 12. The number of pending cases is several hundred. In an overwhelming majority of the cases tried, the defendants were acquitted. In the few cases of conviction, the judge chose not to punish the defendant, or to hand down a very light sentence. In many cases, the charges were lessened during the trial as a result of the prosecution's failure to prove the 'facts.'
The entire report will soon be available (in Hebrew) via the Hebron web site and soon, in English.
From the Arutz-7 News report of March 23, 1998:
1. "SPECIAL" TREATMENT FOR YESHA CITIZENS
Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein admitted at today's government meeting that special guidelines have been in effect for law enforcement on Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria. They were drawn up by the previous Attorney-General, Michael Ben Ya'ir, in consultation with senior members of the GSS, the police, and the State Attorney's Office. A pamphlet published today by the Hevron Jewish Community and the B'Tzedek legal organization documents the policy and its consequences. Noam Arnon, spokesman for the Hevron Jewish Community, told Arutz-7 today, "We felt this discriminatory policy very clearly. Every argument that one of us would have with a policeman would turn into a criminal file being opened on charges of insulting a police officer or disturbing a policeman in the line of duty. We were always being arrested, and if the arrested -whether it be a minor or anyone else - would make an extra gesture, they would immediately charge him with attacking a police officer, etc. Afterwards, if the case reached court, they would always ask for the stiffest sentences. If the court would recommend that the case be closed, they would always say that they have a strict policy not to close cases of this sort." As an extreme example of the police discrimination against Hevron Jews, Arnon said that several boys, 12 to 15 years old, who made a traditional bonfire on the holiday of Lag BaOmer in an empty lot - as children all over the country do on that day - were actually arrested and charged with trespassing.
Arutz-7's Yehoshua Mor-Yosef asked Arnon, "You claim that 100 out of the 500 residents (excluding Kiryat Arba) have been arrested and charged with various crimes. People might say that it's not the fault of the police if your community is particularly problematic." Arnon responded, "When looking at the files opened against us, it can easily be seen that these are almost all police-initiated charges, where the police systematically press charges against us for things like insulting a police officer. For instance, when the Peace Now group was here, they broke through an IDF checkpoint, held an illegal demonstration, attacked IDF soldiers, and beat Jewish children - and all these files were closed. It is clear that their policy against us is being done in a purposeful manner." The pamphlet is based on protocols of the meetings held by then-Attorney-General Ben Ya'ir, as well as a secret document written by Ben Ya'ir to then-Prime Minister Rabin, detailing the intentions to deal more forcefully with the Yesha residents.
Transportation Minister Shaul Yahalom told Arutz-7 today that Rubenstein told the government ministers that the policy towards Yesha residents was not significantly different than towards others. However, Yahalom said that one example provided by the Attorney-General was that only the State Attorney's Office could decide to close a case against a Yesha resident, whereas in the rest of the country, the police may make such a decision. Yahalom said that he and other ministers demanded that there must not be police policies that discriminate against one sector of the population.