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Security forces demolish illegal outpost named for teen killed in police chase

Ahuvia Sandak’s death last year after allegedly throwing stones at Palestinians has sparked frequent protests by nationalist activists

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

Israeli security forces and the Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration on Tuesday demolished an illegal West Bank outpost named after a settler teen killed last year during a car chase.

Ma’aleh Ahuvia, home to several young men and a small herd of sheep, was established in the wake of the death of Ahuvia Sandak, a 16-year-old settler who was killed in a crash while fleeing from police in December 2020, allegedly after throwing rocks at Palestinians.

On Saturday, dozens of nationalist activists blocked the entrance to Jerusalem, protesting the closure of an investigation of police officers who were involved in the car chase that led to his death.

Police said seven people who were demanding justice in the death of the teen were arrested on suspicion of public disorder. Officers cleared the protesters to reopen the road, police said.

The frequent demonstrations have escalated into violence and arrests.

Right-wing activists have accused police of responsibility for Sandak’s death, claiming they caused the car crash during the chase.

A demonstrator poses under an overturned car during a protest rally on behalf of Ahuvia Sandak at the Chords Bridge in Jerusalem, on November 21, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Last month, then-attorney general Avichai Mandelblit closed a probe of the officers, finding no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Sandak’s parents slammed Mandelblit’s decision to close the case, calling it a “stab in the heart.” The family’s lawyer alleged that the head of the Police Internal Investigations Department — a Justice Ministry body that probes alleged police wrongdoing — intervened in the investigation, releasing the officers involved and thus allowing them to “coordinate their story.”

A statement from Mandelblit’s office said the evidence in the case showed police were justified in chasing after the car carrying Sandak, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Bat Ayin, and four other young settlers, and that there were no grounds for claiming officers intentionally rammed the vehicle.

The statement added that it could not be clearly determined which car swerved, leading to the crash in which the car carrying Sandak flipped over.

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