MK Ben Gvir files complaint against police officers he claims attacked him

Foreign Minister Lapid assails far-right lawmaker as a ‘despicable provocateur’ amid tensions in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem

MK Itamar Ben Gvir holds a press conference at his makeshift office in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah toghether with a Jewish resident, February 14, 2022.  (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)
MK Itamar Ben Gvir holds a press conference at his makeshift office in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah toghether with a Jewish resident, February 14, 2022. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

Religious Zionism MK Itamar Ben Gvir filed a complaint on Tuesday against the police officers who he claims attacked him during his stay in the flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem over the last few days.

“The police crossed a red line and physically attacked me,” he said. “There is no place in the police force for violent police officers and this is a crime they should be prosecuted for. I expect the police to do their job and bring these violent cops to justice.”

The far-right lawmaker appeared to faint during a clash with police officers Sunday night, after vowing to stay in the neighborhood through the night.

Ben Gvir had set up a makeshift office — a table under an awning — following the firebombing of a Jewish home in the flashpoint neighborhood over the weekend.

On Monday, a bandaged Ben Gvir returned to Sheik Jarrah and released an image of a letter from Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital discharging him from the emergency room and confirming that he had suffered a head injury.

Asked by reporters why he was wearing the dressing, Ben Gvir accused Public Security Minister Omer Barlev of instructing officers to rough him up.

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev in Nazareth, November 9, 2021 (Michael Giladi/Flash90)

Barlev, he said, would not be able to “lie” about what happened as there is video footage “that shows how they beat my aides without any authority, and, it seems, he gave the orders to do so,” Ben Gvir charged. “Omer Barlev gave an order to beat me up, not just [to take apart] the office but also me personally, and the officers carry it out.”

Earlier, Barlev had tweeted that “there has never [before] been a member of Knesset who raised his hand against a police officer.”

Police in a statement Sunday evening said that “in the past day, we have witnessed disinformation and misinformation circulating on social media in relation to various events in the area, along with violent and inflammatory online discourse, and unlawful attempts to ignite the area.”

Commenting on the events in Sheikh Jarrah, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Tuesday called Ben Gvir a “despicable provocateur.”

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid speaks at a weekly cabinet meeting, at the Prime Minister’s office in Jerusalem, February 13, 2022. (Menahem Kahana/Pool via AP)

“He’s there to fan the flames and incite violence,” the top diplomat said in an interview with Kan public radio.

Responding to Ben Gvir’s claim he was attacked by cops, Lapid said that he sides with the police.

“It is his attempt to produce provocations that will cost blood. If there is a legal option, he should be removed from there,” he said. “The presence of such an MK requires the deployment of security forces, so making the situation more burdensome for them will help the Jewish residents? This is a cheap provocation.”

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