Jerusalem24 – AP News – A video of an Israeli police officer beating and kneeling on the head of Palestine TV producer Yousef Adi has been circulating on social media. The Palestinian journalist was attacked by Israeli police in Jerusalem last Thursday.
Adi told AP on Sunday that Israeli forces beat and detained him “without provocation” as he was heading to pray.
36-year-old Adi said he suffered a broken nose and required four stitches on his forehead after the beating which happened near Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.
Israeli police said the video “distorted the facts” and that they had used “reasonable force.”
Adi, a West Bank resident who works as a technician at Palestine TV, told AP he had all the necessary Israeli permits to enter Jerusalem. He said that once in the Old City, Israeli police arbitrarily detained him and dragged him against a wall and began to beat him.
“I did nothing except shout at them to leave me alone and stay away from me,” he said. “But then more policemen came and began hitting me everywhere on my body.”
A video circulated on social media appeared to show an officer from the Israeli border police pinning Adi’s head to the ground with his knee. Adi is seen bleeding from the nose and hanging limply as police officers handcuff him and move his apparently unconscious body. A pool of blood is visible on the ground.
You want to know what life is like under occupation? This is how Israel treated journalist and Palestine TV producer Yousef Adi earlier in Jerusalem. This is normal. This is occupation. #GeorgeFloyd #EndTheOccupation pic.twitter.com/E4R5yK4MR4
— Husam Zomlot (@hzomlot) September 9, 2022
Adi said the beatings continued until he was eventually hospitalized.
The border police said the video did not tell the full story. It released a separate video of security camera footage that showed part of the events preceding Adi’s arrest.
Although there is no sound, Adi can be seen arguing over being stopped near a police barrier and appears to push an officer as he is detained. He also appears to be shouting and waving his arms frantically as the police begin to attack him.
The video, however, stops short of showing the moments when he was beaten.
“Because of his violent behavior, the troops were forced to use reasonable force in order to subdue the suspect who ran wild and remove the threat his violent behavior posed,” the police statement said. Tamir Paro, the force’s spokesman, declined to answer any additional questions.
Adi said the following day he was fined NIS 500 and banned from entering Jerusalem for a month.
“I’m still suffering from the pain,” he said. “My children, after seeing the video, wake up at night crying … I need surgery on my nose. Who will pay for it?”
The border police are a paramilitary force that is often deployed to areas such as the Old City. Its officers have been targets of Palestinian attackers in the past. At the same time, Palestinian and human rights groups accuse the force of frequently using excessive force and say officers are rarely punished for violent acts.
Last December, an AP photographer was beaten by a border policeman in an unprovoked attack, and two years ago, an autistic Palestinian man was killed by a border policeman in the Old City. Israeli authorities say the shooting was “a tragic mistake”, and an officer was charged with reckless homicide in the case however has yet to stand trial.
Human rights organizations have accused Israel of police brutality and systematically engaging in extrajudicial executions, shooting to kill Palestinians as they are fleeing or laying incapacitated or even unconscious on the ground.
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and Internal Security Omar Bar-Lev issued a joint statement in July reaffirming state support of a shoot-to-kill policy for Israeli police. According to current procedures, any police officer may respond by shooting to kill when they feel they are in a life-threatening situation.