Palestinian minister files coronavirus complaint, after Israeli police forced him to wear blood-stained mask

Palestinian minister files coronavirus complaint, after Israeli police forced him to wear blood-stained mask
Palestine's minister for Jerusalem affairs Fadi al-Hidmi has filed a complaint against Israeli police who he said assaulted him.
4 min read
07 April, 2020
Fadi al-Hidmi was arrested by Israel [Getty]

A Palestinian minister in occupied East Jerusalem has filed a legal complaint against Israeli police officers who he said beat him, robbed him, assaulted his wife and son, and forced him to wear a blood-stained mask, during a raid on his home last week.

Fadi al-Hidmi, Palestine's minister for Jerusalem affairs, was arrested last Friday by Israeli police, accused of conducting "illegal activities".

Local media reported that the officers smashed down a door to his home and confiscated 10,000 shekels (around $2,750) that had been earmarked for charity during a police raid last week.

On Monday, he filed a complaint against the Israeli police officers who arrested him during the storming of his home, according to Haarez

In a complaint filed by attorneys Mohand Jabara and Ahmed Safiya to Israel's justice ministry's department, is alleged that the officers "brutally" conducted their search during the raid on his home, "along with shouts and curses, in a clear attempt to insult" Al-Hidmi.

They "decided to break into the residential building where his apartment is located, unnecessarily blasting the front door of the building without even bothering to knock on the door", the attorneys said.

The officers attacked his family by bringing dogs into his five-year-old son's room while he was sleeping. They then conducted a search of the infant's room without his parents being present, the lawyers said.

The lawyers added that the all-male police force "forcefully and unlawfully seized Al-Hidmi's wife for no reason, while cursing and shoving her brutally and without cause". 

'Like an animal'

[Click here to enlarge]

They then forced the minister into a police car and "took a mask that was lying in the police patrol car with clear signs of dirt and even signs of bleeding, and forced Mr. al-Hidmi to wear it.

"Our client's nightmare seems only to have begun when they reached the area of the Russian Compound, where, after our client felt suffocated by this same dirty mask with blood stains and after he attempted to remove it," the lawyers explained.

"A large police officer with a long beard named Moshe Shahal pounced on him like an animal, and began to kick our client all over his body, including punches and slaps to his face, and kicks to his stomach, while cursing harshly and forced our client to wear this same dirty mask with blood stains," they added.

Read also: Israeli forces 'steal coronavirus food aid for needy Palestinians, beat aid workers'

It was the fourth time Al-Hidmi has been arrested since assuming office in April 2019.

Israel bars the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the occupied West Bank, from operating in east Jerusalem or carrying out any political activities in the area.

Jerusalem is in Area C, which means it is under full Israeli administrative and military control.

Palestinian Jerusalemites have repeatedly complained about Israeli neglect in providing public services to their neighbourhoods, as the coronavirus crisis sweeps the area.

Palestinian officials have been left to generate funds via crowdfunding or donate charity to alleviate the coronavirus crisis in the occupied West Bank.

It is unclear whether Al-Hidmi's donations were specifically earmarked for the coronavirus campaign.

The Israeli police claim "inaccuracies" in Al-Hidmi's account, but refused to specify where.

Ongoing illegal occupation

Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.

More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.

The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.

Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, with Israel in charge of security. Area C is under the full administrative and security control of Israeli authorities.

Israeli forces and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories through harming and killing civilians, demolishing homes, poisoning livestock, vandalising property among other acts of violence, locals, activists, monitors and human rights groups say.

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