State attorney says police wrong to arrest, blindfold Arab woman over online posts

Video shows Rasha Kareem from Majd al Krrum being treated like a terror suspect despite no approval to probe her; Ben Gvir says judicial authorities ‘intervening for terror backer’

Rasha Kareem seen being detained by police, May 30, 2024. (Screen capture: X)
Rasha Kareem seen being detained by police, May 30, 2024. (Screen capture: X)

The State Attorney’s Office questioned a police decision to blindfold and zip-tie an Arab woman while detaining her over comments she allegedly made on social media, saying that law enforcement had not received the necessary permission to investigate her.

In a video posted on social media Thursday, the woman, identified as Rasha Kareem, was seen being restrained with zip ties and blindfolded by a police officer before being led away, measures usually reserved for detainees suspected of serious security crimes.

Kareem, a cosmetics shop owner from the Galilee town of Majd Al-Krum according to reports, was detained for questioning over posts on social media that had been critical of Israel’s security forces.

“A report was received of a few posts made by the suspect against the IDF’s soldiers and the Israeli government that could disrupt public order,” police said in a statement.

According to Channel 12 News, Kareem had made comments comparing the government to the Islamic State terror group and criticizing IDF soldiers.

In the video, Kareem can be seen cooperating fully with the police and even smiling nervously before she is blindfolded and begins to cry.

Asked about the video, the State Attorney’s Office said in a statement that police had not requested or received permission to investigate Kareem for incitement as required.

The office added that “in these circumstances, the police’s decision to cuff the suspect with zip ties and blindfold her is unclear.”

According to Channel 12 News, police originally intended to arrest Kareem for incitement, but instead sought her on suspicion of disrupting public order to get around the fact that it had not received permission from the State Attorney’s Office.

Police said the woman was interrogated and released to house arrest for five days.

“Israel Police will continue to act diligently against all cases of incitement against security forces and support for terrorist organizations. These things can disrupt public order and endanger the safety of citizens,” the police said.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir seen in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, on February 27, 2022. (Arie Leib Abrams/Flash90)

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, whose office oversees the police, accused the State Attorney’s Office of “rushing to intervene in support of the terror backer Rasha Kareem.”

“The unfortunate statement put out by the State Attorney on behalf of a terror supporter shows well the moral and professional degradation of the attorney general and those around her, who are acting in an unprecedented manner against the state,” the right-wing hardliner charged in a post on X.

Since the October 7 Hamas onslaught in southern Israel, police have stepped up attempts to prosecute citizens for social media posts that appear to support terror.

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