An Israeli lawmaker says he was beaten by police while protesting against the Jewish settlement in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem.
Ofar Kasif, a Jewish member of the majority Arab Joint List Party, was protesting against the expansion of a Jewish settlement in the occupied Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Zarah in occupied East Jerusalem.
“They started beating me, they broke my glasses … they went crazy,” Casif said in Channel 13 footage on Friday.
“They did not care that I was a member of parliament,” he said.
Kasif appeared in another video with a swollen puffy eye, tearing off his shirt, wearing torn glasses.
Casif’s spokesman Itai Akinin told the AFP news agency that the injured lawyer had been taken to hospital and that the protests had been “calm and peaceful” before police arrived.
A police statement said preliminary investigations found that a protester had “assaulted an officer”.
The statement added that “the release of the assailant made it clear that he was a Member of Parliament.”
Ahmed Tibi, a fellow MP on the joint list, was among those who shared a video of the altercation on Twitter, calling it a “brutal attack” and a breach of parliamentary immunity.
Following the incident, right-wing lawmaker Gideon Sar tweeted that “the police brutality against him (Cassif) is a fatal blow to parliament and parliamentary impunity.”
Sar, who said he had “disregarded” Kasif’s worldview, was a former loyalist to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and supported the Israeli settlement.
Centrist opposition leader Yar Lapid called the incident “shocking” and called on police to investigate.
Rights groups say dozens of people are at risk of being ousted from Sheikh Zarah after a long court battle with Jewish settlement groups. Jewish and Palestinian leaders have been holding small weekly protests against the eviction under threat.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and involved it in a move not recognized by the United Nations and most of the international community. Israel sees the whole city as its unified capital, and the Palestinian Authority wants to see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
An Israeli court recently ordered the eviction of 57 people, including one child, from seven homes in Sheikh Zararah, according to the anti-Israel settlement watchdog Peace Nav.
Sheikh Jarrah, located in Opalu, Mount Skopas, just north of the Old City, is home to 3,000 Palestinians, all refugees who were ethnically cleansed from their homes in other parts of historical Palestine. 1948 Nakba (“Disaster” in Arabic).
They settled in the neighborhood under a treaty with Jordan that controlled East Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967.
Grassroots Jerusalem, an NGO that provides a platform for Palestinian community-based integration, Previously He told Al Jazeera that since 2001 there had been an influx of Jewish settlers “who were responsible for the forced evictions and terrorism in the area”.
Since the 1970s, the Israeli government has been working to implement a “population balance” in Jerusalem based on a ratio of 30 to 30, which has limited the Palestinian population to 30 percent or less.
This urban plan has been implemented by several policies such as land confiscation, displacement and colonization of Palestinian settlements.
About 450,000 Palestinians fled or were forced out of their homes in 1948 in a bid to establish Israel. They and their descendants now number more than 5.6 million and are scattered throughout the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.