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More disturbances near Mevo’ot Yeriho

Sunday, February 17, 2019, 13:42 In March 2018, a resident of Mevo’ot Yeriho in the Jordan Valley was attacked by 15 left-wing activists from the Ta’ayush organization and Rabbis for Human Rights, under the leadership of Arik Ascherman, a well-known anarchist. With the assistance of Honenu, the injured resident filed a complaint, however there has been no progress with the police investigation, and recently Ascherman returned to the site of the attack. Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher sent a letter to the police demanding that the assailants be brought to trial. The injured resident stated that the residents of Mevo’ot Yeriho had been on good terms with the local Bedouin population: “I used to sit and talk with them. We communicated well. About two years ago, activists from the Ta’ayush organization started to come here and incite the Bedouins in the area [to harass Jews]. They [the activists] convinced them to graze their flocks on land close to the community [Mevo’ot Yeriho], so close that there were times that they came right up to the gate. The Bedouins themselves never would have done that without the support of the Ta’ayush activists and Rabbis for Human Rights.” The complainant added, “We understood that all they wanted to do was portray us as violent and inciting, but we responded appropriately, and never violently. We really aren’t like that.” Regarding the incident, the complainant stated that, “One Friday, I went out for a run at exactly the same time that the Rabbis for Human Rights and 15 Ta’ayush activists arrived with the shepherds, exactly at my running route. They claim that my run disturbed their sheep, and that annoyed the Ta’ayush activists very much. At that point they lost their senses and all 15 activists grabbed me, flattened me on the ground and sat on me. The entire time Ascherman was the leader and he told them what to do. Ascherman himself sat on me and touched my private parts. The [Mevo’ot Yeriho] Head of Security documented the entire incident. One can see everything in the video clips which we transferred to the police. “I phoned the police during the incident and [as I spoke to the police] they called out all sorts of insulting comments about what I had said to the police over the phone. After I managed to break free from them once they grabbed me again until I managed to completely break free from them. The whole time they insulted and cursed me. “In the end, when the police arrived, they turned to the Ta’ayush activists and asked them what had happened. The activists described their version of the events. I came and I showed them the video clip which justifies my claims. However, the police decided to detain me for investigation together with Ascherman and another activist, as if I were a suspect just like them. They received an order distancing them from the area, and also I received an order distancing me from the area. “Since then, we have been following developments in the police investigation. Every two weeks [Honenu Attorney Chayim] Bleicher checks with the Ariel Police for news, but there is no reply. Last week, after Ascherman returned to the site for the first time since the incident, I myself went to the Ariel Police in order to check where the case stands. When I arrived, the police answered that there had been no progress yet with the matter and that they are still investigating the incident and examining it. Furthermore, it turned out that the left-wing activists filed a case against me for violence.” The injured resident stated that Ascherman’s return to the area brought him back to the incident, even though it has been almost a year since it occurred: “All at once I felt the frustration, the pain, a real trauma.” He explained why he himself went to the police station: “I’m not looking for pity. I just want a genuine investigation so the the truth will be revealed.” Bleicher sent a letter to the police, stating that he has asked them several times for the investigation to be completed so that the assailants could be brought to trial. Unfortunately ten months have passed and there has been no progress in the investigation. Bleicher also mentioned the recent return of Ascherman and other anarchists to the area of Mevo’ot Yeriho, and that the dangerous incitement has begun again. Ascherman made threats to residents of Mevo’ot Yeriho of framing them and making sure that the police open cases against them. Bleicher added: “The failure of the law enforcement authorities to deal with a criminal and to bring him to trial, allows him to return to the scene of the crime and to continue his dangerous incitement to violence of other activists and Arab residents of the area, which harms the security of the area.” Bleicher requested that the police proceed with the utmost speed to detain the attackers, to distance them from the area of Mevo’ot Yeriho and other sensitive areas, and to indict them. The police replied to Bleicher: “Efforts are being made to conclude the investigation as quickly as possible.” Honenu Attorney Chayim Bleicher, who is representing the injured resident: “There is no satisfactory explanation for the conduct of the police in this case. There is a video which clearly and distinctly shows the left-wing activists and anarchists under the leadership of Ascherman, together attacking a resident of Mevo’ot Yeriho, grabbing him and humiliating him as they sing peace songs. “It should not be that a group of law-breakers who undermine the security of a region under the guise of peace activists receive immunity from standing trial. We demand indictments against the attackers as soon as possible, and their distancing from areas of Jewish communities, which will help return calm to the entire region.”

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