Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced Thursday that he would determine within the next few weeks whether to launch criminal procedures against the police officers and other individuals responsible for the October 2000 riots, which resulted in the deaths of 13 Arab protestors.
Mazuz made the statement in a letter to former Israel Bar head Shlomo Cohen, in response to the latter's claim that "it appears that the Justice Minister plans to bury this subject."
In the letter to Cohen Mazuz's office wrote, "We are now in the final stages of forming our opinion on the issue, and the attorney general is expected to make his decision known within the next few weeks."
The letter further stated that Mazuz has held a large number of meetings with the state prosecutor and other State Prosecution officials on the matter in recent months, to thoroughly examine the legal opinions issued regarding the various aspects of the riots.
The handling of the affair took time because of the complexity and sensitivity of the subject matter, and the vast amount of related documents, the letter noted.
The October 2000 riots were triggered by a visit by then-opposition chairman Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount that enraged the Arab sector. Thousands of Israeli Arabs participated in violent disturbances; efforts were made to attack Jewish communities; major highways were closed to Jewish traffic; numerous structures were destroyed; and a Jew was killed when a rock was thrown at his vehicle.
Israeli police attempts to control the riots resulted in the deaths of 13 Arab citizens and many more were wounded; Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip continued to clash with Israeli and Israeli-Arabs evidenced unprecedented levels of cooperation and identification with their brethren on the other side of the Green Line, dramatically increasing the sense of hostility between Israeli Jews and Arabs dramatically increased.