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Al-Mayadeen reporter to take further legal action after Israel closes case on police attack

Aug. 20, 2016 6:39 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 31, 2016 10:09 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Jerusalem-based journalist Hana Mahamid said Saturday that she would take further legal action after Israel’s Justice Ministry closed the case into an Israeli police officer who threw a stun grenade at her during clashes last October in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department (Machash) closed the case because they claimed they were unable to identify the policeman responsible for shooting and injuring Mahamid in the face with a stun grenade on Oct. 5, 2015, due to the large number of officers in the area and the fact that grenades do not leave ballistic evidence like bullets do.

The incident occurred when Mahamid was filming a report in the Issawiya neighborhood of East Jerusalem during clashes between Israeli forces and local Palestinian youth gathered outside of the home of 19-year-old Fadi Alloun, who was shot dead by Israeli police the day prior, after he allegedly attempted to stab a group of Israelis -- though witnesses said he had been walking home after performing dawn prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In a video of Mahamid covering the clashes for the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV channel, she suddenly stops talking during a live report and begins screaming after being hit in the face with shrapnel.

She was wearing a flak-jacket with “PRESS” marked clearly on both sides.

She claims that Israeli forces fired a stun grenade directly at the Lebanon-based Al-Mayadeen TV team.

“Machash’s decision wasn’t surprising to me,” Mahamid told Ma’an on Saturday, noting that Israeli authorities and the police investigations department in particular “do not carry out impartial and objective investigations.”

The complaint had been filed on her behalf by Yousef Jabareen, a member of the Joint Arab List of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. In late May, the Justice Ministry informed Jabareen that it was closing the case.

“Unfortunately, and despite our efforts, we were unable to identify the perpetrator of the crime against the complainant,” the ministry’s statement wrote, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “Under these circumstances, there is no choice but to close the case on the grounds of ‘perpetrator unknown.’”

Mahamid said the fact that the her complaint was eventually dropped was emblematic of the fact that Israeli police investigations routinely close cases in which Palestinians are victims of misconduct, excessive use of force, and even death.

A recent report by Haaretz revealed that nearly all investigations opened over the killings of Palestinians at the hands of Israeli police in the past ten months were closed “without the unit investigating and questioning the officers.”

“But I had to submit a complaint to them because that is the only path available to me,” Mahamid said.

She said her lawyers would now ask to see the investigation file to check whether all the needed investigations and procedures were carried out. “Submitting an appeal against the decision to close the case to the Israeli Supreme Court is a possibility,” she added.

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