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Reports that an abusive police officer who made derogatory statements to protesters of the disengagement plan is being considered for a key promotion has right-wing groups infuriated.
Former Negev District chief Lt.-Cmdr. Niso Shaham is rumored to be under consideration to become Jerusalem District assistant commander.
Channel 10 filmed him telling a border policeman during the anti-disengagement rally in Kfar Maimon in 2005 to "hit [the protesters] with clubs, if necessary, and aim low." His remarks caused a public uproar. He also said, "Let them burn," and directed vulgar remarks at the protesters.
After Channel 10 broadcast the tape, then-Insp.-Gen. Moshe Karadi relieved Shaham of involvement in implementation of the disengagement plan.
Yitzhak Baum, an attorney with the Land of Israel Legal Forum, on Sunday wrote to Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen, asking that Shaham be removed from consideration for the promotion. If Shaham's promotion were approved, he wrote, the Legal Forum would appeal to the Supreme Court to block it.
Baum said Shaham's statements were a "clear attempt to use unethical police violence while expressing disdain for an entire public that gathered at Kfar Maimon to protest what was termed the 'Disengagement Plan.'"
Baruch Marzel, head of the National Jewish Front, likened the possible promotion to "allowing the cat to guard the cream. They are nominating Shaham, who hates right-wing activists, to a district where there are many conflicts and confrontations between right-wing activists and the police."
Shaham sent a letter of apology to former Sephardic chief rabbi Mordechai Eliahu, a spiritual leader of the national religious settler movement, in early May. The letter was made public for the first time on Sunday by NRG Internet news.
"The way I expressed myself during that incident was hurtful and not appropriate," he wrote. "Since then, until this day, it has been bothering me and disturbing my rest. I want to express regret and apology from the depths of my heart toward the wide public I injured during the events at Kfar Maimon."