Israeli parliamentarian Ofer Cassif files complaint over 'police violence'

Joint List MK Ofer Cassif files complaint over Israeli police violence
2 min read
12 April, 2021
An Israeli parliamentarian has accused police of beating him up during a protest in East Jerusalem.
Cassif was not seriously injured from the altercation [Getty]
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.

He also drew comparisons with the assassination of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a right-wing extremist in 1995.

"The poisonous mushroom that is Netanyahu grew from the blood of Rabin, and we will not let more such mushrooms sprout," he said.

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 neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, against the expansion of settlements and planned evictions of Palestinian residents.

Read also: Sheikh Jarrah and the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in East Jerusalem

Footage of the incident showed Cassif arguing with officers before being pushed by one before being grabbed and punched.

Other footage show an officer apparently kneeling on Cassif's face.

in one video broadcast on Channel News 12 on Saturday a protester can be seen calling police "a group of psychopaths".

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".

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.

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