Israeli Police Investigation Dept. dismisses complaint against police assault of demonstrators in Umm al-Fahm, including MK Dr. Yousef Jabareen and Mayor Dr. Samir Subhi Mahamid

PID claimed that the demonstration was illegal and that the police used reasonable force, despite video footage showing officers attacking and wounding dozens of demonstrators, without any justification; Adalah now demands the investigation materials.

On 23 November 2021, the Israeli Police Investigations Department in the State Attorney's Office (PID or “Mahash”) announced that it had completed its investigation into police conduct during a demonstration in Umm al-Fahem on 26 February 2021. The demonstration concerned violence in the Arab society. During the demonstration, Israeli police officers used excessive force, assaulting and wounding demonstrators, including former Knesset Member Dr. Yousef Jabareen and Umm al-Fahem’s Mayor Dr. Samir Subhi Mahamid. Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel filed a formal complaint to the PID on 30 March 2021.


In its letter sent to MK Jabareen, the PID announced that it decided that there was no need to open a criminal investigation into police conduct during the demonstration. The PID claimed that the demonstration was illegal, as it lacked the required permits, and that the demonstrators acted violently towards police officers, who were then compelled to employ force that was "reasonable under the circumstances." Both the State Attorney and the Deputy State Attorney for Criminal Affairs approved the PID’s decision not to initiate a criminal investigation.


CLICK HERE to read PID's letter of 23 November 2021  [Hebrew]


However, video footage attached to Adalah's formal complaint, taken by demonstrators with the use of aerial drones, clearly shows that police officers forcefully dispersed the demonstrators, while the demonstrators were acting in accordance with the law. The police's use of unreasonable force, including life-threatening measures, led to the injury of dozens of demonstrators, including one man who suffered severe trauma and subsequently needed to undergo head surgery. The video footage also appears to indicate that police commanders issued orders to use force against the demonstrators before the demonstration had even begun.


CLICK HERE for additional information and video footage

CLICK HERE to read Adalah's formal complaint and affidavits [Hebrew]


After several months with no response, Adalah submitted an additional inquiry to PID into the status of the case in August 2021. At that time, the PID stated that the investigation into the case had been completed. However, in its most recent letter, the PID refers to the same investigation as a 'review' that ultimately concluded that no criminal investigation would be initiated against any of the police officers involved.


CLICK HERE to read PIID's response from 29 August 2021 [Hebrew]


Adalah commented:

"Several weeks after the Israeli Supreme Court's decision approving the dismissal of the case concerning the killing of Yacoub Abu Al-Qi'an [a 50-year old Bedouin math teacher killed by police during a home demolition operation in Umm al-Hiran in 2017], the PID yet again settled for a ‘review’ and decided not to initiate a criminal investigation into the outrageous behavior of the police toward citizens. Further, the fact that the State Attorney who approved the decision to dismiss the case is also the competent authority to review the appeal against that same decision is a clear conflict of interest. Therefore, we reiterate our demand for an independent and impartial investigation into the decision-making of all law enforcement entities involved in the dismissal of investigations into the wounding and killing of Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel by police, as it currently looks like a situation of total impunity."


Former MK Dr. Yousef Jabareen responded:

"The decision essentially grants the police permission to continue to employ violence and excessive force against Arab demonstrators. Anyone who has seen the documentation and video footage of police conduct witnessed the violence and forcefulness of police officers, including the use of rubber bullets, batons, skunk water, and tear gas. The decision to dismiss the case is unacceptable in light of the circumstances of the case. Only by a miracle were no residents killed by the police fire that day."


Umm al-Fahem’s Mayor Dr. Samir Subhi Mahamid stated:

"The PID's decision to dismiss the case was foreseeable, as the PID systematically ensures that complaints related to police attacks on Arab citizens are dismissed. We stand by our truth and the validity of our claim and we will uphold our right to appeal this defective decision until we achieve justice for all the demonstrators."


Previous Press Releases:

Eyewitnesses, videos appear to indicate illegal and violent Israeli police conduct at Umm al-Fahm protest 4 April 2021