October 2000 riots (archive photo)
Photo: Elad Gershgoren
Families of Oct. riots victims: Israel worse than Nazis
Adalah minority rights center says Police Investigation Unit cooperated with officers accused of wantonly firing at Israeli Arab protesters during October 2000 riots, during which 13 people died
A new report issued by Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel concluded that The Police Investigation Unit (Mahash) cooperated with officers suspected of unlawfully killing 13 Israeli Arabs during the October 2000 riots.


“Mahash did not conduct any investigation into five of the killings, contrary to the Or Commission’s recommendation that it do so. Mahash presented a falsified report to the public, suggesting that it had conducted an intensive investigation, while in fact it did not gather any evidence itself," the center said in its report.


Hassan Asla, a representative of the bereaved families said in response that "Israel is worse than the Nazis."


The Or Commission (Photo: Sebastian Shiner)


Titled 'The Accused', the report slammed the Police Investigation Unit and State Comptroller Eran Shendar who headed the unit at the time.


The report will be submitted to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and a demonstration will be held to protest the failure of law enforcement authorities in leading a transparent investigation into the incident.


Or Commission 

The Or Commission, which was commissioned in 2001 to investigate the incident, published its findings in 2003, ruled that there was no reason for the police to open fire at protesters.


It also noted that snipers were used for the first time to disperse protesters.


"Mahash justified the use of snipers without examining tape recordings comprising central evidence for the illegality of the sniper fire; these tape recording were, however, viewed by the Or Commission


"Mahash did not verify or review a police report which justified the use of snipers even in the absence of an immediate danger to police officers’ lives," the report continued.


"Mahash's investigation of Alik Ron, who was found by the Or Commission to be responsible for illegally deploying snipers, covers only

a single page, while the Or Commission's investigation of Ron spans 801 pages," the report said.


It added: "Mahash justified the use of sniper fire on the basis of the testimony of a police officer who was summoned as a defense witness by Alik Ron. The Or Commission reproached Ron for bringing an affidavit of support from the same police officer, and yet Mahash did not hesitate to base its findings on the same man."


"Adalah, on behalf of the families of the deceased, demands the immediate suspension of all those responsible for Mahash's failures, led by Eran Shendar, the Director of Mahash in 2000," the report concluded.


The report accused Mahash of deliberately concealing evidence against officers criticized by the Or Commission for issuing illegal orders to policemen during the riots.


The report says that Moshe Waldman, who was responsible for snipers in Nazareth, "was not questioned over an incident that occurred on 8 October 2000 in Nazareth, in which two Arab citizens were killed. In contrast, the Or Commission determined that Waldman gave the illegal order to fire at demonstrators".


"Mahash concealed the fact that in one of the fatal cases, a bullet extracted from the body of the deceased was lost after previously being in its possession," and "rejected the credibility of witnesses who had been considered very credible by the Or Commission. Mahash also did not hesitate to reject the credibility of neutral witnesses without summoning them for questioning."


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