Police Conduct in Sheikh Jarrah
Video by Erez Harodi
On 13.4.2021, we appealed to the Legal Advisor to the Police demanding an investigation into the violent and dangerous conduct of officers of the Special Patrol Unit during the weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah on 9.4.2021. Following the Police’s violence—including encircling and attacking protestors and using stun grenades in violation of standard procedures—we demanded a full investigation into the event, especially regarding the unnecessary and excessive use of force and violence used to disperse the protests. Additionally, we demanded that the Police be briefed and instructed to allow the protest to take place, as it does not require police approval and has taken place every week for years without ever violating public order.
The appeal was written by Shira Livne - Unit Director of Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Sivan Tahel - Coordinator of Freedom of Demonstration Project, and Reut Shaer - Unit Director of the Public Hotline. “The starting point is that the right to protest is a fundamental, basic right under a democratic authority,” they wrote. “The conduct of Police during the protest this past Friday violated the established guidelines determined in the ruling, in Police procedures, and by every reasonable measure of the use of force. Therefore, there should be a full investigation and lessons learned on the Police’s end for future protests.”
On 10.5.2021, along with Ir Amim, we appealed to the Commissioner of the Police and the Jerusalem District Commander to remove the checkpoints and barriers imposed by the police in Sheikh Jarrah, and to get rid of the selective police inspection that the residents of the neighborhood have to go through.
In the appeal, Attorney Tal Hassin and Sivan Tahel, Coordinator of the Freedom of Protest Project, stated that, while the residents of the neighborhood cannot enter and leave freely without police inspection and feel as though they are under siege by the police, the Jewish religious public is allowed to enter freely by the police without inspection and provoke residents and activists who come to the neighborhood to express sympathy and solidarity with the families of Sheikh Jarrah. On 19.5.2021, we appealed again and the police rejected our claims.