The attorney general has given the police approval to question Hadash MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List), who in May was filmed striking a police officer at a protest against the eviction of Palestinian families in the occupied territories.
Knesset members have parliamentary immunity, which allows them to travel almost everywhere in the country. It was not clear why Cassif was barred entry from the area, or if the police officers knew who he was.
Hadash MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List) at the Knesset plenum (Photo: Knesset)
Cassif was attempting to reach a protest at Masafer Yatta — a Palestinian agriculture area near Hebron in the occupied West Bank. Israel’s top court recently ruled in favor of evicting over 1,000 Palestinians from their land.
In the incident, police forces stopped Cassif as he was driving to the South Hebron Hills and he was blocked from entering the area with his vehicle, Cassif was filmed clashing with the police forces while shouting “who do you think you are? I’m a member of Knesset” toward the officers.
After the incident, Cassif defended his actions, claiming he overheard one of the police officers saying he will “shoot Cassif” if the MK doesn’t comply with police orders. “Today, we came to support the residents of Masafer Yatta who are facing the demolition of their homes and their expulsion from their land in light of the High Court ruling that denies international law,” said Cassif following the incident. “The police officers repeatedly violated my immunity during the silent procession and prevented me from moving freely. One of the policemen threatened me when he told his friends, ‘If [Cassif] continues, not only will I arrest him, I’ll shoot him.'”
On the same day, four buses and several cars with hundreds of Hadash and CPI activists, including Joint List lawmakers Ayman Odeh and Aida Touma-Sliman, were blocked on the way to the demonstration. The activists got off the bus and started protesting in place and they were attacked by settlers.