Photo: Tal Rabinovsky
'Writing is still on the wall.' Hatib
Photo: Tal Rabinovsky

Arab-Israeli judge: Nothing has changed since October riots

Judge Hashem Hatib, member of commission that investigated death of 13 Israeli-Arabs in clashes with police, claims in conference marking three years since publication of report that nothing has been learned. Situation can still arise in which citizens killed in encounter with police, he says

Arab-Israeli Judge Hashem Hatib said in a conference marking three years since the Or Commission report investigating the October riots in which Israeli police killed 13 Arab citizens was published, "The Or Commission report didn't change anything. Events such as those of October 2000 are likely to return and to be upon us suddenly." According to the judge, "The writing on the wall the eve of the October occurrences is still the writing on the wall today, this time in much sharper, clearer letters."


In a lecture he gave at Tel Aviv University, the judge added, "Three years after the publication of the report, it seems as though nothing has changed in the government's treatment, and in the continuing policy of discrimination (against Arabs)."


He alluded to the statements made by MK Effie Eitam, saying that the discourse of expelling Arabs from the country has become a legitimate discourse, and that "the suspicion and lack of trust between the two populations has grown. All of this creates a debilitating and difficult atmosphere surrounding Jewish-Arab relations in the country."


He added that "it is regretful that this matter has created disappointment, if not to say despair." Dr. Eli Rekhess, director of the Center for Jewish-Arab Cooperation added, "The war sharpened the national split. It is enough to look at the statements of MK Effie Eitam."


'Committee came to do absolute minimum'

Every year since the publication of the Or Commission report, a lecture is given outlining its results and impact. In the previous two years, lectures were given by former judge Theodor Or and Prof. Shimon Shamir, both members of the commission. This year it was Judge Hatib's turn. He was the representative of the Arab sector on the commission.


Hatib started his speech with an extensive overview of the Or report. He made a general reference to the factors causing the outbreak of the October riots defining them as "the state's incriminating treatment of its citizens and inequality," which, he claims, have existed since the establishment of the state. He harshly criticized the ministerial committee that was established to discuss the commission report. He asserted that it is clear that the committee came to do the 'absolute minimum.'


The judge said the Israeli-Arab community was angered by the fact that police officers involved in the incident were never put on trial by the committee, but added that “this is the job of the Internal Investigations Unit”


In response to the Internal Investigations Unit’s decision not to put the officers on trial Hatib said “I am afraid that the report will only increase the Arab community’s distrust, not only in the police but in the authorities as well.” 


פרסום ראשון: 09.11.06, 23:51
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