Joint List MK punches officer after he was blocked from reaching West Bank protest
A Knesset member from the Arab-majority Joint List party beat a policeman on Friday after security forces blocked his vehicle from reaching a protest in the West Bank.
Joint List MK Ofer Cassif lightly punched the officer in the head during a heated verbal exchange after police and Border Patrol stopped his car in the southern hills of Hebron.
In one video, a police officer attempts to stop Cassif’s vehicle. The car hits the officer who approaches Cassif and yells at him to move his vehicle.
“Move your car. You don’t come in,” the officer shouts.
“I didn’t touch you,” Cassif shouts.
Cassif then hits the officer, and accuses him of an attack.
“You punched me in the face,” Cassif shouts.
“Who are you even? Get out of here,” he says in the footage.
— משה שטיינמץ (@moyshis) May 13, 2022
Police said they had opened an investigation into the case to assess whether a criminal investigation could be opened.
Members of the Knesset enjoy parliamentary immunity, allowing them to travel almost anywhere in the country. It was unclear why Cassif had been barred from entering the area, or if the officers knew who he was.
Cassif was trying to reach a protest at Masafer Yatta – or 918 Shooting Zone – an agricultural area near Hebron in the West Bank. Israel’s highest court recently ruled to evict more than 1,000 Palestinians from the land in a controversial case and one of Israel’s longest-running legal battles.
Cassif is the only current Jewish lawmaker from the Arab-majority Joint List party and is known for his political outspokenness and heated discussions with other Jewish Knesset members.
Last year, police beat Cassif during a protest in East Jerusalem, drawing condemnation from lawmakers across the political spectrum.
Israeli police came under fire on Friday after officers beat mourners in a controversial incident at the funeral of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh in Jerusalem. Footage of police beating marchers during the funeral procession has drawn worldwide condemnation.