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Israeli police accused of branding Star of David on Palestinian man's cheek: Report

According to an Israeli news outlet, 16 officers went to arrest the man and none of their body cameras were working
Israeli border guards escort a Palestinian man arrested east Jerusalem's Shuafat refugee camp on 25 January 2023 (AFP)

A Palestinian man from the Shuafat refugee camp was beaten up by Israeli forces who then imprinted the Star of David on his cheek, Israeli media reports show.

The Palestinian man, who has not been named publicly, was arrested on Wednesday and was suspected by Israeli police of drug trafficking offences, Ynet reported.

Exactly 16 police officers were present at the arrest, and "none of their body cameras were working", Ynet reported.

“Israeli police brutality against Palestinians continues to severely harm and even kill Palestinians forced to live under the extreme everyday violence of Israeli apartheid,” the Institute for Middle East Understanding tweeted.

On Thursday, the man’s lawyer presented the charges to a district court in Jerusalem. In the court, the man said police beat him with fists “on all parts of his body and covered his face with a cloth strip” before imprinting a Star of David on his cheek, Ynet reported.

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“This is a very serious case of violence and humiliation of a detainee by police officers. The Public Defender's Office views the case very seriously and expects immediate treatment from the Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police,” said Vadim Shub, the public defender of the Jerusalem district, Ynet reported.

“As a law-abiding country, we must not put up with the phenomenon of police violence. In this case, the nature of the injuries raises a strong suspicion of attempted humiliation on a racial basis.”

Warning - the image in the tweet below is graphic:

The Israeli Police responded by saying that during the search in the man’s house, “substances suspected of drugs were seized in an amount not for personal consumption”. The police alleged that the man began to “violently attack the police officers with his legs and resisted arrest”.

“Due to his actions, the police officers had to use reasonable force until the arrest procedure was completed. As part of the investigation, the suspect's detention was extended by the court until 20 August. As far as allegations are made regarding this or that conduct, it is appropriate that these should be examined by the relevant authorities.”

Yousef Munayyer, the former executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights, said it was horrifying. 

“This is apartheid and our tax dollars support it every day,” he tweeted.

“This is literally what it looks like when the state runs on Jewish supremacy, cops knowing they will be celebrated and not held accountable torture prisoners by branding their faces with a star of David.”

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East said this “is the fascist violence of Israel’s occupation”.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.

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