Arabs to take police to The Hague

Israeli-Arab group calls strike after A-G drops cases of police present at 2000 riots which killed 14.

october 2000 riots 88 (photo credit:)
october 2000 riots 88
(photo credit: )
The Israeli Arab Monitoring Committee decided Monday to take the case of the 2000 clashes with Israel Police, which left 13 Arabs and one Jew dead, to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The committee made the decision following the decision of Attorney-General Menahem Mazuz Sunday that no police officers will be indicted in connection with the October 2000 riots in the Galilee. The deliberation was attended by a number of Arab MKs, as well as mayors from the Arab sector and representatives of citizens' rights groups. In protest to Mazuz's decision, the Israeli Arab Monitoring Committee called a meeting for Monday evening and is expected to urge the start of a general strike in the Arab sector. Mazuz's ruling was largely expected, as it followed a decision by the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department in September 2005 to close the case due to lack of evidence. During the 10 days of riots, 12 Israeli Arabs and a Palestinian resident of the Gaza Strip were shot and killed by police and other security forces at various locations in the Galilee, and a Jewish motorist was killed in a crash after his car was stoned on the coastal road near Jisr e-Zarka. "We had to take into consideration the fact that the incident involved the use of operational judgment in an emergency situation, under circumstances that don't justify casting criminal blame," Mazuz wrote in his ruling. The riots at the start of the second intifada sparked renewed concerns among Jews that the country's 1.4 million Arab citizens were a fifth column. In September 2003, the Or Judicial Commission of Inquiry found that both the government and the police, taken by surprise by the rioting of Israeli citizens, failed to handle the situation properly. The police, who were heavily outnumbered, later said they had not had enough nonlethal crowd dispersal gear. "Once all the evidence was compiled and reviewed, including material gathered by the Or Commission and the Police Internal Affairs Bureau, we found no evidence supporting criminal charges against any of the officers involved," Mazuz wrote. "Therefore I have no recourse but to declare the case closed." Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, blasted the attorney-general's decision and said it planned to seek international legal mediation, including the intervention of the United Nations. "This is a black day for justice, human rights and the aspiration for equality and respect between peoples," said Adalah director-general Hassan Jabareen. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel also condemned the decision. "This alarming trend suggests that it's acceptable and even lawful for the police not to be held responsible for killing Arab citizens," the group said in a statement.