Signs of panic
The determination of the police to prevent all opposition to disengagement knows no boundaries: A ninth-grader who waved a sign, a doctor who scolded police over their manner of speech - all instantly became dangerous criminals
by Hodaya Karish-Hazony
8 April 2005
The seven 14-year-old youths who went out to demonstrate against the disengagement plan didn't imagine that they would so easily find themselves in confrontation with the law. Last Thursday between six and seven in the evening, the seven youngsters, ninth graders from Petach Tikva, had a free period. They decided to take advantage of the time, took a few signs bearing slogans against the withdrawal from Gush Katif, and stood on the sidewalk on Kaplan Street in the city, next to Rabin Medical Center.
"After a short while, four or five vans arrived and took us to the police," recounts Zvi Weisbart, one of the youths. "They said it was an illegal assembly. They interrogated us, each of us separately, asked us who sent us and demanded more details about the event. After a while they called the parents. They threatened and cursed one boy; it simply frightened some of us."
Zvi's father, Avi Weisbart, says he was made to sign a commitment that his son would not be present in the coming two weeks in a location where an improvised demonstration takes place, and that he would appear before a probation officer when requested to. In addition, the father signed for bail in the amount of three thousand shekels.
"In our street they once demonstrated, without a permit, against it being turned into a busy street. The police came then and politely asked them to disperse, I don't remember that they arrested or detained anyone for questioning. Here we're talking about good kids who didn't even make noise. Apparently there's a directing hand trying to shut people's mouths. And I thought we were a democratic state."
His son adds that this week another group stood in the same location, numbering eight youths. They too were similarly detained for questioning, but this time the amount of bail increased to five thousand shekels. "The police is trying to intimidate the right-wing activists," he says.
If you complain, you'll be arrested yourself
Dr. Shai Gross, who was severely beaten last week by police, still has difficulty recovering from "all this chaos," as he describes his condition. "You're in a sort of whirlpool, it's not the usual territory you're used to being in, and it's quite disconcerting."
Dr. Gross, a doctor at Rambam Hospital in Haifa, arrived last week at Haroeh Junction to meet his daughters, who were taking part in the women's march, "This Land is My Land." The police there spoke inappropriately to the marchers, and Dr. Gross protested about it and said the women weren't breaking the law.
Suddenly, the women who were present attest, five police officers leaped on him, pounded him with blows and slammed his head into the sidewalk. Gross was bound hand and foot, taken into the van and held in detainment overnight.
"Next weekend a court hearing will take place regarding the charge against me, and I'm still wondering what it's all about. My faith in the system has greatly declined since the brutal behavior of the police."
A woman who was a witness to Dr. Gross's beating approached the police station that evening to offer testimony about the incident. The police advised her to get away from there before she is arrested herself.
Update: Arutz-7 reports on another incident of police brutality. (Via Israpundit.)