20 March 2012: Suspected police assault on mother and three sons in East Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood on 30 January 2012

Published: 
20 Mar 2012
Updated: 
14 Mar 2013

Update: On 13 March 2013 The Department for the Investigation of Police in the Ministry of Justice (DIP) informed B'Tselem that the file has been closed due to insufficient evidence.

Monday morning, 30 January 2012, Jerusalem city inspectors under Israel Police and Border Police protection demolished a trailer in Beit Hanina, East Jerusalem. Hanan Salhab, 60, hanging laundry on her rooftop, witnessed police confronting a man and woman alongside her family’s car.

Hanan Salhab. Photo: 'Amer 'Aruri, B'TselemHanan Salhab told B’Tselem what happened next: “I went downstairs and asked the police to be careful of the car. One came over and grabbed my neck. He dragged me behind the car and pushed me against it. He grabbed my neck again, lifted me, and shoved me repeatedly against the car and punched my chest. Then he pulled my hijab off my head.”

Salhab’s son Ahmad, 26, a butcher by trade, was at home. He heard his mother’s screams and ran to help:/

Ahmad Salhab. Photo: 'Amer 'Aruri, B'Tselem“I went outside and ran to my mom. I told the police: ‘That’s my mom and this is her house.’ I tried to pull my mom toward the house but was hit hard, on my back. I turned around and saw lots of policemen. One grabbed my shirt and another Tasered my left thigh. I fell down and my shirt ripped. I saw the police taking my mother away. I don’t know where, but I heard her yelling. I tried to stand but a policeman Tasered me again in the same place. I fell again and the policemen cuffed my hands behind my back. About ten minutes later I saw my brothers, Abd al-Karim and Assad. They were handcuffed like me. I didn’t know when they were arrested, or why.”

Ahmad’s brother Abd al-Karim Salhab, 21, a Bir Zeit University student, also heard the commotion and went outside:

'Abd al-Karim Salhab. Photo: 'Amer 'Aruri, B'Tselem“Before I could get to my mom to try to release her from the policeman holding her, he clubbed me on the cheek. I stepped back but then felt I was being pushed forward. I fell down and four policemen crowded around me. They beat me with clubs and fists and then tied my hands behind me. Then I saw my brother, Assad, standing in front of the house, with policemen beating him.”

The brother Ass'ad, 38, a dentist employed by the Jerusalem Municipality whose home is one floor below his parents’, related that he heard shouting and went outside to investigate:

Ass'ad Salhab. Photo: 'Amer 'Aruri, B'Tselem

“I saw a policeman grab my mom by the neck with one hand and punch her with the other. I went toward my mom to help her but some policemen attacked me. They beat me with clubs and fists and kicked me. One of them Tasered me in the stomach. I fell down and they rolled me onto my stomach and tied my hands behind me. While I was lying down, the policeman with the Taser gave me another shock to the stomach. He had a sort of pistol with two wires coming out of it and he touched my stomach with them. I was paralyzed; I could not move. Then the policemen lifted me up and I saw my brothers, Abd al-Karim and Ahmad, standing outside the house. Their hands were also bound behind their backs. I was surprised to see them because I didn’t know they were there too.”

Subsequently, the police sent the mother back to her house and detained her sons in a patrol vehicle where, the sons testified, they were treated violently by the police. Ahmad Salhab: “The policemen put me into the vehicle. One told me: ‘Don’t sit on the seat and get it dirty.’ Surprised, I glanced at him and then he hit me on the back of the head with the pistol he was holding. I was injured by the blow and I felt  the blood dripping on my neck. The policemen put me on my knees. Then one of them touched my neck with his Taser and said, ‘If you speak, I will shock you again.’

Ass'ad Salhab related that while being detained in the vehicle, he asked a policeman to loosen his handcuffs a little:

“In response, the policeman twisted my fingers and I screamed. The policeman said, ‘How do you feel now?’ and kicked me in the groin.”

The three brothers were brought to the Neve Ya’akov police station and interrogated on suspicion of assaulting policemen and interfering with police operations. They were then released on bail and required to appear at any future interrogation as demanded.

Subsequently the four family members went for medical treatment and were found to be suffering from bruises on various parts of their bodies.

The next day, 1 February 2012, the Salhabs submitted a complaint to the Department for the Investigation of Police and asked to be kept informed of the status of their complaint. They were told that the incident is under investigation.