Yesterday, 7 September 2003, Adalah sent a letter to the Chief of Police Shlomo Aharonishky, Minister of Internal Security Tzachi Hanegbi, and Attorney General Elyakim Rubenstein demanding that they immediately dismiss Major General Moshe Waldman, the commander of the Amakim Region police during the October 2000 protest demonstrations, from his position. Mr. Waldman’s illegal conduct in October 2000, as also concluded by the Or Commission of Inquiry, and his recent racist statements made in a newspaper interview, mandate his immediate dismissal.
In its final report published on 1 September 2003, the Or Commission of Inquiry recommended that Mr. Waldman be released from service due to his serious failures in fulfilling his command. The Commission concluded that: “Maj. Gen. Waldman was responsible for putting live-fire snipers into the arena … [which] was both unjustified and against police regulations and practice.” As one example, the Commission showed that in Nazareth on 8 October 2000, Mr. Waldman, “gave the order to fire, without giving due consideration to the risk involved in live fire on civilians. As a result of this failure, live rounds fired by police severely wounded civilians and caused the death of at least one civilian.” The Commission also determined that Waldman allowed the widespread, unjustified use of rubber-coated steel bullets, and did not order that preference be given to non-lethal weapons in dispersing demonstrators in October 2000.
Adalah Attorney Marwan Dalal argued in the letter that the Commission’s conclusions and recommendations against him did not deter Mr. Waldman. In an interview with Kolbo, a local Haifa newspaper, published on 6 September 2003, Mr. Waldman is quoted as making racist statements against Palestinian citizens of Israel. Specifically, Mr. Waldman stated in the interview that during October 2000, “in light of their conduct/behavior, one can say that only 13 were killed.” It is clear from this statement that Mr. Waldman believes that the killing of 13 people was justified, and that the killing of even more Palestinian citizens of Israel would have also been legitimate.
Adalah further argued that the police, as any other public authority, must act fairly, equitably, justly, and without prejudice: “Both the conclusions of the Or Commission and the subsequent statements made by Mr. Waldman clearly point to the fact that he is unworthy to serve as a civil servant, and that he presents an immediate threat to the Arab public in his capacity as a police commander.”