Peki'in report expected to cite police failure

Inquiry into the October riots shows forces were unprepared for the operation, Army Radio reports.

pekiin riots 224.88 ap (photo credit: AP [file])
pekiin riots 224.88 ap
(photo credit: AP [file])
After over a month of deliberations, the police committee probing the October 30 riots in Peki'in is poised to deliver its findings in the coming days, as rumors began to swirl Sunday that the probe's findings would be less than complimentary for certain members of the Northern District's top brass. An Army Radio report Sunday morning claimed that the report found that the police operation in the Druse village was characterized by failures at the command and organizational levels. According to the Sunday report, the findings also indicate that police forces were not properly prepared for the operation, were unfamiliar with the area and did not receive photos and maps of the village beforehand. In the operation, a massive police force entered the northern village to arrest several young men suspected of vandalizing a nearby cellular antenna. A violent confrontation quickly erupted between police and local residents, leaving dozens of officers and villagers wounded and tensions high between the two groups. In the aftermath, each side blasted the other for using unjustified force and escalating the riot. While the Druse community demanded a special commission of inquiry and several MKs on a visit shortly afterwards called for a ministerial committee to probe the events, Public Security Minister Avi Dichter decided that an internal police probe would be sufficient to establish responsibility and determine lessons learned. Now, it seems likely that that probe's final report may include personal conclusions regarding top officers in the police's Northern District, including Galilee Subdistrict chief Lt.-Cmdr. Nir Mariash. It was not clear whether the committee's report would address the issue of responsibility for the violence. Only last Thursday, Mariash's name was mentioned as a possible successor to Cmdr. Hassin Faris as head of the police's Technology and Logistics Division - a promotion that would take the veteran field officer out of the volatile Northern District and put him behind a desk, under the watchful eyes of the Jerusalem headquarters staff.