Sheik Jarrah: Politicians abusing their immunity - police

The Israel Police In a sharply worded statement denounced politicians' taking advantage of their immunity in order to create provocations after MK Ben Gvir set up his "office" there last week.

 MK ITAMAR Ben Gvir and Tal Yoshubiev (left) at a press conference outside the Yoshubiev home in Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on Sunday. (photo credit: ARIE LEIB ABRAMS/FLASH 90)
MK ITAMAR Ben Gvir and Tal Yoshubiev (left) at a press conference outside the Yoshubiev home in Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on Sunday.
(photo credit: ARIE LEIB ABRAMS/FLASH 90)

The Israel Police denounced on Sunday the "wrongful phenomenon" of public servants taking advantage of their legal immunity, referring to MK Itamar Ben Gvir (Religious Zionism) opening his parliamentary office in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah last week.

"Unfortunately we are witnessing in recent days the wrongful phenomenon of public servants abusing their power of immunity, creating provocations and fanning the flames in the area," said the Police. "As if this was not enough, some of them choose to repeatedly besmirch the police, commanders and dedicated officers who are acting in the area day and night in order to preserve the peace and security of all of the residents in the area."

"We denounce the unrelenting attempts to trick the public and besmirch the Israel Police," the statement concluded.   

The announcement is a rare rebuke of a politician by the police.

Ben Gvir set up a field office in the neighborhood on February 12 after a Jewish family's home was torched earlier that day. Police have arrested some Palestinian residents of the neighborhood on suspicion of arson, while Palestinians claimed the fire broke out due to an electrical short circuit.

 Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces in Sheikh Jarrah (credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD) Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security forces in Sheikh Jarrah (credit: REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)

A number of right-wing politicians visited the field office over the weekend, and violent protests broke out on a number of occasions, both by right-wing protestors and Palestinians. Ben Gvir accused the police of not being impartial and for acting violently towards him and his supporters. 

"The Israel Police acts at the site to prevent violence, disruptions of order and friction with many varying police forces. The police had acted and reinforced its presence in the neighborhood before any public servant arrived," the police's announcement read.