Saturday, April 18, 2015, 22:32 On Thursday, April 16, Holocaust Remembrance Day, the
Israeli Police led an Arab shepherd accompanied by police detectives disguised as Arabs close to the Givat HaBaladim hilltop community and the Ma’aleh Shlomo neighborhood adjacent to the community of Kochav HaShahar in an attempt to cause a disturbance resulting in the detention of Jewish residents. Simultaneously police and Yassam (Special Forces) police set up an ambush. Out of concern for the security of the area a Kochav HaShahar resident summoned other residents to the site. Five residents of Kochav HaShahar and other nearby communities were detained on suspicion of assaulting the Arab and the police detectives.
Deliberations on the case were held in the Jerusalem Magistrate and District Courts on Friday, April 17. Honenu attorney Adi Kedar was present in the courts, providing legal counsel to the five detainees, until close to the onset of Shabbat.
During the deliberation at the Jerusalem Magistrate Court it became clear that the police had not received authorization from the Justice Ministry or any other ministry to carry out the operations, which were liable to endanger the lives of the residents and the policemen. Also the police representative evaded the question as to whether or not the policemen had disguised themselves as Arabs. However the judge interrupted him and stated for the record that one of the detectives had worn a kaffiya.
The detainees denied that they had assaulted the police and the Arabs. The detainees stated that first one of them noticed Arabs with a herd very close to Givat HaBaladim, at a site to which Arabs never come. He was concerned that the Arabs posed a security risk and were possibly going to attempt to steal a herd belonging to residents of the hilltop. Therefore he galloped on his horse towards the Arabs. When he noticed that the herd with the Arabs did not belong to residents of the hilltop he left the scene. The other detainees stated that they were summoned to the scene, but when they realized from a distance that the herd and the Arabs had begun to leave, they returned towards their community and it was then that they were detained.
The police requested a seven-day remand extension for the five detainees, which was rejected by the Jerusalem Magistrate Court; the remand was extended only until Sunday, April 19. Honenu attorney Adi Kedar hurried to file an appeal with the Jerusalem District Court, which upheld the decision, but ruled that the police must complete their investigation by Sunday, which indicated that the courts are dissatisfied with the manner in which the police are conducting the investigation.
During the deliberation Kedar presented a document which had been submitted in the trial of a similar incident instigated by the police near Susiya, in which the Minister of Internal Security declared that the police would not carry out operations against Jewish residents of Yehuda and Shomron in which the policemen are disguised as Arabs, particularly because of the danger to security posed by such operations.
Kedar stressed that the police carried out the operation in an area in which terror attacks had occurred and mentioned that the mother-in-law of one of the detainees was murdered in one of the attacks. “The Department of Nationalist Crime continues to act in opposition to orders by the Minister of Internal Security as if it was a private elimination squad,” said Kedar. “In this operation the police endangered the lives of the residents, actively increased tension in the area, and furthered the public’s lack of faith in the police.”