Palestinian man left beaten, bloodied by Israeli police

AP  /  September 11, 2022

JERUSALEM – A Palestinian man who is seen in an amateur video lying face down, bloody and motionless, as an Israeli policeman kneels on his neck, said Sunday that Israeli forces beat and detained him without provocation as he headed to pray at Jerusalem’s chief Muslim shrine.

Yousef Adi, 36, said that he suffered a broken nose and required four stitches on his forehead after last Thursday’s beating nearby Al-Aqsa mosque. The incident is the latest in a series of violent acts by Israeli police against Palestinians. Israeli police said the video distorted the facts and they had used “reasonable force.”

Adi, a West Bank resident who works as a technician at Palestine TV, said he had all the necessary Israeli permits to enter Jerusalem. Inside the Old City, he said officers arbitrarily detained him and dragged him against a wall and began to beat him.

“I did nothing except shout at them to leave me alone and stay away from me,” he said. “But then more policemen came and began hitting me everywhere on my body.”

A video circulated on social media appeared to show an officer from the Israeli border police pinning Adi’s head to the ground with his knee. Adi is seen bleeding from his nose and hanging limply as police officers cuff him and move his apparently unconscious body. A pool of blood is visible on the ground.

Adi said the beatings continued and that he was eventually hospitalized.

The border police said the video did not tell the full story. It released a separate video of security camera footage that showed part of the events preceding Adi’s arrest.

Although there is no sound, Adi can be seen arguing over being stopped near a police barrier and appears to push an officer as he is detained. He also appears to be shouting and waving his arms frantically as they try to subdue him. The video, however, does not show the moments when he was beaten.

“Because of his violent behavior, the troops were forced to use reasonable force in order to subdue the suspect who ran wild and remove the threat his violent behavior posed,” the police statement said. Tamir Paro, the force’s spokesman, declined to answer any additional questions.

Adi said the following day he was fined 500 shekels (about $150) and banned from entering Jerusalem for a month.

“I’m still suffering from the pain,” he said. “My children, after seeing the video, wake up at night crying … I need surgery on my nose. Who will pay for it?”

The border police is a paramilitary force that is often deployed to maintain order in tense areas, such as the Old City, or to quell unrest, and its officers have been targets of Palestinian attackers. At the same time, Palestinian and human rights groups accuse the force of frequently using excessive force and say officers are rarely punished for violent acts.

Last December, an AP photographer was beaten by a border policeman in an unprovoked attack, and two years ago, an autistic Palestinian man was killed by a border policeman in the Old City. Israeli authorities say that shooting was a tragic mistake, and an officer has been charged with reckless homicide in the case.

Earlier Sunday, a Palestinian man who was wounded in a firefight with Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank last week died of his injuries, Palestinian health officials said.

Hamad Mustafa Abu Jelda, 24, was shot during a shootout with Israeli forces in Jenin. The forces were demolishing the home of a Palestinian gunman who killed three Israelis in an attack in Tel Aviv earlier this year.

It was not clear whether he was taking part in the violence when he was shot.

Israel has been conducting near-daily arrest raids in the West Bank for months, which were prompted by a spate of deadly attacks against Israelis earlier this year that killed 19 people.

Israel captured the West Bank, along with East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, in the 1967 Mideast war and the Palestinians seek those territories for a future state.