Police say 39 arrested, 2 officers injured

Protesters beat police officers at demonstration over settler teen’s death

Hundreds turn out in Jerusalem for latest rally, following Ahuvia Sandak’s death in car crash last week while fleeing police after allegedly throwing stones at Palestinians

Israeli police scuffle with demonstrators during a protest over a young settler who was killed earlier this week in a car crash during a police chase after allegedly throwing stones at Palestinians, Jerusalem, December 23, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Illustrative: Israeli police scuffle with demonstrators during a protest over a young settler who was killed earlier this week in a car crash during a police chase after allegedly throwing stones at Palestinians, Jerusalem, December 23, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Hundreds of right-wing protesters clashed with police in Jerusalem Tuesday night over the death of a young settler in a car crash while fleeing police after allegedly throwing stones at Palestinians.

Protests have been held nightly in Jerusalem and elsewhere since the death last week of 16-year-old Ahuvia Sandak in the central West Bank.

Some of the protesters on Tuesday were filmed beating police detectives who were attempting to arrest one of their number in the capital.

Video clips showed the young demonstrators kicking the officers while they were on the ground and shouting “burn them,” and “kill them.”

“During the arrest of a suspect by detectives, a number of protesters began trying to prevent the arrest of their friend while lightly striking one of the detectives, then fled,” a police spokesperson said, according to Walla news.

The police said the initial suspect was arrested, as well as one of the attackers.

Three detectives were attacked by around 30 protesters, the Haaretz news outlet reported.

Police said 39 protesters were arrested or detained overall and two officers were injured.

Later, protesters blocked traffic in the capital’s Bar Ilan intersection. Police used riot dispersal means to break up the group of protesters.

One officer was injured at the second location by a stone that hit him in the neck, and a police car that was being used to transport detainees was damaged when protesters smashed its windows.

Videos from the scene showed protesters hurling racist slurs at a Black officer and calling the police “Nazis.”

Other protests took place in the West Bank, where demonstrators blocked traffic at several areas on Route 60. Six protesters were arrested in the West Bank.

The Kan public broadcaster said three people were arrested on suspicion of throwing stones at Palestinian vehicles near the West Bank town of Huwara. The suspects were arrested after a brief chase, the report said.

The Yesh Din rights group released photos of Palestinian vehicles that it said were damaged by stones near Huwara, and said there have been similar incidents nightly since Ahuvia’s death. There were no reports of injuries.

Earlier Tuesday, suspects attempted to set fire to a police building in the settlement of Hashmona’im. Vandals sprayed graffiti on the building, including, “You murderers are in our crosshairs.”

The vehicle carrying Sandak and four other so-called hilltop youth extremists flipped over near the Michmash Junction in the West Bank last week, killing him and injuring the others. The suspected stone-throwers were apprehended and taken to Hadassah Hospital Mount Scopus in Jerusalem with light to moderate injuries. Sandak was from the southern West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin.

Ahuvia Sandak, who was killed when his car flipped over while being chased by police in the West Bank on December 21, 2020. (Courtesy)

Police said following the accident that officers signaled for the vehicle to halt after catching the young men hurling rocks at passing Palestinian vehicles. The suspects refused and sought to flee the scene, then lost control of their vehicle, which rolled over on the side of the road.

According to Honenu, a legal aid group that often represents far-right settlers, the police car “hit [the settlers’] vehicle with force from behind, and the force of the impact caused their car to run off the road.”

Sandak was trapped under the car and it took roughly 40 minutes to pull him out, the group said.

According to Army Radio, though, the other passengers in the car assumed that Sandak had fled the scene, not knowing that he remained trapped under the vehicle. They also refused to cooperate with police at the scene, wasting time that could have been used to save the victim.

Demonstrators holds placards showing Ahuvia Sandak as they protest against his death in a car crash during a police chase last week, at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv on December 29, 2020. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Police were probing negligent homicide suspicions against the four other passengers, according to Monday reports. They are also being investigated over the alleged stone-throwing incident that led to the chase.

In addition to the probe of the four, who were all injured in the crash, the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department has questioned the officers involved in the incident.

The deadly car crash came hours after an Israeli woman, Esther Horgen, was found dead in a northern West Bank forest where she had gone for a run a day earlier, apparently after she was killed violently.

Security forces arrested a Palestinian man Thursday suspected in Horgen’s murder, as well as several suspected accomplices.

Horgen’s murder sparked several days of tension in the West Bank. Military sources told the Walla news site that they feared Horgen’s death could spark a series of revenge attacks by the settler youth on Palestinians and further inflame the already tense situation in the West Bank.

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