Today, the press reported another case of abuse by Israeli security forces – this time, it was the maltreatment of Palestinians by border police officers and IDF soldiers at the Qalandiya checkpoint. This comes only one day after the Commander of the Border Police adopted the recommendations of a committee that investigated the unit in Hebron that was responsible for a series of incidents of violence, including the death of ‘Imran Abu Hamdiya.
The timing of this new report of abuse may be coincidental, but it testifies to the fact that unfortunately more than a few “rotten apples” are involved. Rather, we are faced with a widespread phenomenon that plagues many units stationed in different areas.
In the past few weeks, following the slew of incidents relating to abuse by members of the Border Police unit in Hebron, B’Tselem has received more than twenty testimonies relating to other cases of abuse of Palestinians by IDF soldiers and border police officers.
The events in Hebron make it clear that failing to deal with routine violence by security forces may lead to death. The killing of ‘Imran Abu Hamdiya in Hebron is the gravest consequence in a series of incidents of abuse that have been tacitly accepted by the command echelon.
B’Tselem calls on the heads of the defense establishment to draw the appropriate conclusions from these incidents and put an end to the abuse. To do so, they must thoroughly investigate every case of suspected abuse, ensure that criminal indictments are filed against those responsible and that the defendants are prosecuted to the full extent of the law. Border police officers, IDF soldiers, and their commanders must clearly be given the message that abuse or mistreatment of Palestinians will not be condoned.