Wednesday, April 06, 2005

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Scary News from Israel: The regime reaches wits' end

Via ENGAGE - For a Secure Israel...from Biur Chametz (this post)...

ENGAGE - For a Secure Israel (EFSI)

(Biur Chametz says...) I've taken the liberty of hastily translating this op-ed from yesterday's Ma'ariv. I apologize for any inaccuracies; occasional clarifying notes have been added in square brackets.

The regime reaches wits' end
Ma'ariv Israeli Newspaper - April 5, 2005

Amnon Shomron has a shocking story: A doctor is brutally beaten and thrown in jail, a jail designated for opponents of the regime, just because the police thought he opposed disengagement. The dark days are already here.

A week ago, Dr. Shai Gross was brutally beaten by 6-7 police officers at Kfar Haro'eh Junction. The police violence towards him was shocking by any standard. Dr. Gross, a doctor at Rambam Hospital [Haifa], waited for a small group of marchers making its way along the side of the road from Netanya to Kfar Haro'eh, where they were to spend the night in Hefer Valley communities and then continue the march into Samaria. Gross was supposed to meet some of the group, his guests, and then go on to Beit Ha'am for an evening singalong.

When they reached Kfar Haro'eh Junction, the police were there too. A police officer forced them to enter the village, perhaps fearing they planned to demonstrate in the intersection. He didn't like the pace at which they walked, and called one of the women a fool. Gross scolded the officer for his language, and then it started: The officer, along with his uniformed colleagues, pounced on Gross, slammed his head into the ground, beat him all over his body, cuffed his hands and feet and threw him into the van. His 15-year-old daughter, who watched the incident stunned, approached the police and tried to rescue her father. But they pushed her away and threw her onto the road.

I visited him in the holding cell at the Netanya police station at 10pm, some five hours after the incident. He was still cuffed hand and foot, his whole body shaking and bruised, his vision blurred, consumed by anger and frustration. The police were kind enough to free his hands just for our meeting, after which they again handcuffed him. The duty officer refused to grant him a blanket. "He'll get that in [high security] Ma'asiyahu Prison." Ma'asiyahu? Yes, the first political prison in the State of Israel. There, according to the instructions of the State's Attorney and the police, opponents of the regime will be tossed.

The charge: Assaulting an officer

At 3am, he was transported to Ma'asiyahu, and the next morning he was returned to Netanya and brought before a judge. There, in less than 24 hours, with him tired, shattered and hurting, an indictment was already prepared and served against Dr. Gross on charges of... assaulting a police officer. The judge was also asked to hold him until the end of proceedings, but she refused and ordered him released.

This amazing story could take place only in a situation in which the prime minister encourages soldiers to beat right-wing demonstrators and the minister for internal security reprimands the chief of police for using insufficient force to prevent [demonstrators from] blocking the roads; one can only guess at the variety of guidelines given to commanders of police districts and stations and the officers themselves, until the moment when madness meets brutality.

The unbearable lightness with which the police and the prosecution prepare an indictment against a simple citizen with no criminal background, and the inhuman insensitivity with which a request is filed to detain him and deny his liberty until the end of legal proceedings, are present only because someone has deliberately loosened the reins. Beat the religious and the settlers, and hasten the disengagement.

The ill wind against the right, the settlers, the religious and their ilk recalls the bad days after the Rabin murder, in which the secular left let loose its hatred against the national-religious public, unmasked and unconcealed. But this time, the scheme has been joined by the students of Jabotinsky, graduates of the saison and the Altalena. They, it appears, know how to do it with pride, with brutality, and without a trace of courtesy.

The author is an attorney, the former editor of the Makor Rishon newspaper.


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