B'Tselem field researcher assaulted by a police officer while monitoring a checkpoint in East Jerusalem, June 2007

Kareem Jubran, B'Tselem field researcher

Kareem Jubran

Today, Tuesday, June 12, 2007, I visited Augusta Victoria Hospital . At 10:55AM I left the hospital intending to go have breakfast in the Mount of Olives area. The minute I left the hospital, I saw a huge traffic jam and the entire Mount of Olives junction was closed off to traffic.

I got out of the car and walked toward the traffic jam to see what was going on. As I got closer, I saw a police car (a Toyota van) parked on the side of the road. In the middle of the road was an officer in blue uniform and with him two border policemen. Another policeman was inside the car.

The policemen were stopping all the cars in both directions, less than 20 meters from the main Mount of Olives junction. I stopped to see what has going on, and then I took out my video camera and started filming. After a few minutes an officer in blue uniform came to me and yelled "Don't film! Come with me!" I told him that I was allowed to film. He asked that I give him my ID card. I told him that I worked with B'Tselem and gave him my ID card along with my B'Tselem work card. The minute I handed it over to him, he took the B'Tselem work card and the stub of the ID out and threw them at me. He said "go to the car" (the police car that was on the other side of the street). We went there. Next to the car he said "Open your bag and show me what's inside" -my work bag that has cameras and notebooks in it. There was about one meter between me and the policeman. I had a cigarette in my hand. The policeman said "Don't talk to me with a cigarette in your hand", so I said "What are you talking about? You want me to put out my cigarette! I am not a student in your class and we are in the middle of the street". He got upset and started screaming at me saying "Throw out the cigarette and get in the car!" I threw it out and got into the car in the back seat on the right side. The minute I got in, he punched me very hard in the stomach. The punch hurt me so badly that I screamed at him and said "You're going to pay dearly for this; I'm going to sue you!" I asked him to identify himself and he refused saying that I could get his name at the police station. I tried to find a name hanging on a badge or something, but his flak jacket was hiding everything and his shoulder badge was folded under the jacket. He locked me in the car for 15minutes.

I tried to call my work. The policeman saw that I was holding a cell phone and came over and yelled at me to close it and to give him my bag. He opened the notebooks and looked at the cameras inside the bag. After 15 minutes, they took me to the police station in Salah El Din.

At the police station, I was delayed and interrogated until 2:40PM. When I was in the hallway waiting to go in to the investigation, I saw the policeman who had attacked me sitting in an office across from me. He received a phone call, looked at me, and then I heard him saying "There's nothing for them to do here, send them to the Russian Compound". I later understood that he was talking with the policemen who were in the area where I was attacked and that following the conversation, Ronen and Eitan from B'Tselem, who had come looking for me, had been sent to the Russian Compound and delayed until they finally managed to track me down at the police station in Salah El Din.

Before the police officer who had attacked me left the police station, he came over and gave me his name and number. He said his name was Fadi Khatib and his number was 111922.

During the actual investigation, the interrogator accused me of having blown smoke in the policeman's face. I said "That's not true; the cigarette was not even in my mouth but in my hand". He also accused me of refusing to identify myself even though I had. In the video I have, you can even see that I gave him my ID card immediately after he asked for it.

It's important to note that the punch I received caused me great pain in the stomach. The pain did not go away until an hour later. On the way from the Augusta Victoria area to the police station, I told Fadi that my stomach hurt. He said "That's fine, it'll pass". In the investigation I told the interrogator about the punch, but he didn't relate to it.

Kareem 'Issa Ahmad Jubran is a field researcher for B'Tselem and a resident of East Jerusalem. His testimony was given to Eitan Diamond on Salah el Din Street in East Jerusalem, on 12 June, 2007.