The law authorities failed to investigate the deaths of 13 protesters in October 2000 - مركز مساواة لحقوق المواطنين العرب في اسرائيل

The law authorities failed to investigate the deaths of 13 protesters in October 2000

The Mossawa Center, Wednesday, 1st October, 2014, Haifa. Today is the 14th anniversary of the suppression of the "Jerusalem - October 2000" protests during which 13 Arab citizens were killed, shot by police officers who evaded investigation from law enforcement, and whom the official investigation committee called the "Or Commission" was recommended to uncover the circumstances of the murder of the protestors. Among other things that the police evaded included investigation by the department of investigation of police officers in the Ministry of Justice. Members of prosecution and the Attorney General say that the policemen should be brought to justice for killing 13 protestors and injuring hundreds of other citizens by shooting live bullets. The Or Commission report set the terms in which they should be investigated. However, the investigation process was delayed, and recommendations were submitted to close the investigation on the grounds that the Attorney General Minister Menacham Mazuz did not find any of the police officers involved guilty. 
Since then, incidents have occurred where officers involved in suppressing protests used live ammunition against protestors. Some of them were then dismissed from their positions for other reasons. The Attorney General Minister Menacham Mazuz approved the closure of these cases and was recently appointed by the Nominations Committee to the Supreme Court. Shai Nitzan, the Deputy Attorney that was directly responsible for the investigations and recommended the closing of the cases, was appointed in December 2013 to the position of State Attorney.
After the suppression of the protests in October 2000, during which 13 protestors were shot to death and hundreds were injured, a wave of police killings of Arab citizens began, in which soldiers and even Jewish citizens gained encouragement from the public climate and evaded criminal investigation. In total, 48 citizens have been killed between 2000 and 2008. Since then, only in two incidents have the judges sentenced them to short periods of time in jail, one for six months and one for 30 months. The policeman Shahar Mizrachi who shot Mahmoud Ghanaiim Abu Snai was sentenced to 30 months in prison but was released by the prison authority prior to even 15 months in jail.
The Mossawa Center warns that this will destroy the Arab communal belief in the legal system and will lead people to take the law into their own hands.  The Arab community did not believe that the soldier Natan Zada who murdered four innocent passengers on a bus in the city of Shefar Amr would be judged and receive his punishment. The Arab citizens who defended themselves and were convicted of assaulting and killing Natan Zada, were brought to court and sentenced to lengthy prison terms.
The police force drew conclusions from the recommendations of the Or Commission Report and avoided the use of live ammunition in the suppression of the protests in the summer of 2014 but used anti-democratic tools that hurt freedom of expression. Preventative arrests, mass arrests, group trials, and the use of violence were all undercover tools to repress freedom of expression of Arab citizens in summer 2014.
On the 14th anniversary, the Mossawa Center feels the sorrow of the families of those murdered and announces that we will continue to demand the completion of these investigations and that we will act against police violence and racist violence. The leadership of the Arab community is currently holding commemorative events along with the bereaved families. The Mossawa Center is participating in these events and activists are giving lectures in schools and community centers on the topic of freedom of speech and police violence.
These events followed the collapse of peace talks between Israel and the PLO in the year 2000. We emphasize the Arab communal responsibility to fight racism and discrimination. The Arab community must take a central role in ending the occupation and bringing peace between Palestinians and Jews.

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