Investigation into Border Police violence against protesters in a-Nabi Saleh

15 Jun 2011
3 Jan 2013

Update: On 30 January 2012 the Department for the Investigation of Police (DIP) announced that it would not investigate the three allegations of Border Police violence in Chris Whitman’s complaint of injury by a tear-gas grenade. The DIP also announced its decision to close the investigation of Ben Ronen’s complaint concerning his injury by a tear-gas grenade. On 3 May 2012, Att. Gaby Lasky appealed to the State Attorney on behalf of B'Tselem regarding these decisions by the DIP. On 30 January 2014 the Office of the State Attorney announced that it had decided to deny the appeal.

Residents of the village a-Nabi Saleh, north-west of Ramallah, hold weekly popular protests against the takeover of the village’s land by settlers. On Friday, 13.5.2011, Border Police officers dispersed the protesters with severe violence even though the protesters did not throw stones or endanger the security forces in any way. During the breaking up of the protest, documented by B’Tselem volunteers Bilal Tamimi and Nariman Tamimi, Border Police officers beat protesters with their hands and with clubs, kicked them, swore at them, sprayed several people with pepper spray and arrested three female protesters using disproportionate force.

Additionally, Border Police officers fired teargas canisters directly at protesters, injuring two: an Israeli protester was hit in his hand and two of his fingers were broken, and an American citizen was hit in the head. The film shown here depicts a Border Police officer firing a teargas canister at the Israeli protester, as directed by his commander. The American protester filmed the teargas canister as it hit him. The film shown here does not show the shooting that injured the American, but his evacuation to the ambulance is seen. In response to the footage shown on Israeli TV, the Border Police spokesperson told Israeli channel 10 that the images are “one sided. The Palestinians are those who attacked the police officers and attempted to release an arrestee from detention”. The police also said that one of the female protesters taunted a police officer and injured her. B’Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) wrote the Department for Police Investigations (DPI) demanding that the event, including the responsibility of the officers who were in command, is investigated. Additionally, several protesters submitted complaints and the DPI opened an investigation. B’Tselem made all its documentation of the event available to the DPI, and will monitor the investigations and its results.