Creating new perspectives since 2009

Israel: border officers face prison for assaulting Palestinian workers 

September 12, 2023 at 2:01 pm

Israeli border policemen on May 23, 2021 [GIL COHEN-MAGEN/AFP via Getty Images]

Four Israeli border officers convicted of assaulting and robbing Palestinian workers from the occupied West Bank were given prison sentences and community service yesterday by the Beersheba District Court, Haaretz has reported.

In 2020, the court heard, the officers would wait routinely for Palestinian jobseekers near a fence in the Southern Hebron Hills and then attack them and steal their money. Thousands of shekels are said to have been stolen and the Palestinians were subjected to threats, physical violence and humiliation at gunpoint.

Judge Yuval Livadaru, wrote that the defendants “violated the values of protecting the bodies, dignity, property and peace of mind of the complainants.” He added that because they were in uniform while committing the crimes, the officers damaged “the trust in and image of law enforcement and harmed the reputation of the State of Israel, which is struggling to prove its morality in every arena, even in this very context of its conduct with the Palestinian population.”

Due to a plea deal, three of the officers will face varying prison sentences, ranging from only 16 months to four years, while the fourth will be required to complete nine months of community service. Moreover, their commanding officer was ordered to pay compensation to the injured Palestinians.

WATCH: Entire class of Palestinian schoolchildren detained at Israeli checkpoint

The sentences appear to be far more lenient than those handed down to Palestinians, including minors, who are convicted of throwing stones. Even if no harm or damage is caused, they face penalties of up to 20 years in prison.

The Israeli officers pleaded guilty to a range of charges, including armed theft, severe assault, misconduct, conspiracy to engage in criminal activities, breach of trust and tampering with evidence. The court has yet to determine the sentence for another officer involved in the case.

Meanwhile, all five were dismissed from their positions within Israel’s Border Police force following the filing of the indictment, as have six other police officers, who were suspected of having knowledge of the assaults and thefts but remained silent.