Joint List MK Ofer Cassif was brutally assaulted by police in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem on Friday, Israeli media reported.
Cassif was in the neighborhood to protest in solidarity with its residents as clashes broke out. He also noted that police allegedly knew he was a Knesset member and didn't care.In video of the incident released by N12 on Saturday, bystanders can be heard shouting that Cassif is an MK. A video of the incident was released by KAN News on their Twitter account.
"In a demonstration against the settlement in Sheikh Jarrah, [the police] broke my glasses, tore my shirt, threw stun grenades...they have immunity of course, the cops that broke the law. It is important to note that the protesters did not act violently at all," Cassif said.
תיעוד נוסף של תקיפת ח"כ עופר כסיף במזרח ירושלים. יו"ר הכנסת לוין גינה: "אדרוש שהאחראים יתנו את הדין"https://t.co/Ihw0NOtO1o@SuleimanMas1 @yaara_shapira (צילום: אורן זיו, שיחה מקומית) pic.twitter.com/ai6n6wHNdY— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) April 9, 2021
Israel Police's Jerusalem District Chief Doron Turgeman said that he has ordered an investigation into the incident.
"[We] will examine what caused the incident in which MK Ofer Cassif raises allegations that he was attacked by police. The incident was reported to Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai, and in the coming hours we will know from the police body cameras and additional documentation what actually happened during the demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah in Jerusalem," Israel Police said in a statement.On Sunday, Cassif arrived to the offices of the Central Police Investigation Unit and made an official complaint against the officers involved in the violent incident. "When violence comes from the very people meant to protect the law, and is selective in nature, the violence becomes twice as bad," Cassif said, adding that the attack that he suffered is only "a symptom" and that "the real violence is evacuating people from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah." Religious Zionist Party Chairman Bezalel Smotrich also weighed in on the incident, saying in a statement that "the attack on MK Ofer Cassif by police is serious and unacceptable in a democratic state governed by the rule of law. The immunity of Knesset members is critical to fulfilling their role, and is not a matter for one side or the other on the political map. Too often recently, police officers have violated the law in this matter and the Israeli police are required to investigate.""Violence against a Knesset member is violence against the rule of law," said Labor head Merav Michaeli. "The police are surrendering to the interests of the prime minister who has been attacking and humiliating them for years. This cannot be."
Members of the Knesset reacted to the incident and released statements condemning the police's conduct.
"I was shocked to see the serious incident in which a Knesset member was beaten by police. Such brutal behavior is unworthy of any citizen, let alone towards a Knesset member entitled by law to freedom of movement in order to fulfill his role," said Knesset Speaker MK Yariv Levin.
MK Tamar Zandberg also criticized police conduct, saying on Twitter that "police violence does not go unnoticed in any sector, and it undermines the trust of citizens and the foundations of democracy, especially when it is directed at a Knesset member. Enough violence!"