Middle East Monitor / January 7, 2020
Undercover Israeli police officers arrested prominent Israeli anti-occupation activist Jonathan Pollak at his workplace yesterday morning, reported +972 Magazine, “after he repeatedly refused to appear in court over a private prosecution filed against him by a far-right organisation”.
According to witness accounts, “three officers arrived at the Haaretz building in south Tel Aviv, where Pollak works as a graphic designer, and took him into custody.”
In December 2018, far-right group Ad Kan launched a private prosecution attempt against three Israelis – including Pollak – for their role in protests against the Separation Wall.
Ad Kan’s move came only after Israeli authorities had declined to charge the three activists. The private prosecution, described as “the first of its kind against anti-occupation activists”, accused the defendants of “attacking” Israeli occupation forces.
Pollak had repeatedly refused to appear in court, saying he did not recognise the legitimacy of a system that maintains a “military dictatorship” over “subjects that lack all basic democratic rights” in the West Bank and Gaza or are “second-class citizens” in Israel.
Police have tried to arrest Pollak a number of times, including at home and his workplace. According to +972 Magazine, Pollak’s refusal to appear in court “means he can legally be held in custody, indefinitely or until he agrees to post bail and attend hearings at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court”.
Refusing to pay bail yesterday, Pollak said:
Engaging with these hearings would be a recognition of Israeli court’s authority to discuss its opposition to the same regime it represents. This is not a matter of money, and I do not intend to legitimize the court’s discussion of this matter.
Pollak’s lawyer, Gaby Lasky, “requested that Pollak be released without conditions, given that the police failed to send a representative to the hearing”, the report added. A second hearing is scheduled for this afternoon.
Last July, Pollak was “physically assaulted by two assailants as he left work”, one of whom was armed with a knife. Neither assailant has been caught.