update deskIsrael News

MK Cassif to be charged with aggravated assault against police officer

The lawmaker is alleged to have struck a police officer in the head after being prevented from participating in a demonstration against a court ruling ordering the evacuation of Arab villages on Mount Hebron.

Knesset member Ofer Cassif speaks at the Knesset Plenary Hall, in Jerusalem, on May 14, 2019. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.
Knesset member Ofer Cassif speaks at the Knesset Plenary Hall, in Jerusalem, on May 14, 2019. Photo by Hadas Parush/Flash90.

Israeli Attorney General Gali Baharav-Miara will formally charge Knesset member Ofer Cassif (Hadash-Ta’al) for assaulting a police officer last year, Hebrew media reported Tuesday.

The Israel Police and State Prosecutor’s Office had previously recommended that Cassif be prosecuted over the May 2022 incident.

The lawmaker is alleged to have struck a police officer in the head after being prevented from participating in a demonstration against a Supreme Court ruling ordering the evacuation of Arab villages on Mount Hebron.

Security forces preparing for the evacuation had restricted the flow of traffic and declared various locations in the area closed military zones. Nevertheless, a demonstration took place, during which a Border Police officer told Cassif that he could not access it with his vehicle.

Cassif allegedly got into an argument with the officer before driving slowly toward him and hitting his leg. In response, the officer allegedly struck the hood of the vehicle and shouted at Cassif, who then allegedly got out of the car and hit the officer.

Cassif has denied attacking the officer, but police are said to be in possession of evidence backing the charge.

“I hope that we can clarify in court how completely different the reality is than how they are represented in the indictment. I still hope the court will find MK Cassif innocent,” his lawyer, Daniel Haklai, commented on Tuesday.

The only Jewish member of the Arab-majority Hadash-Ta’al Party, Cassif has often stirred controversies in the Knesset.

In November last year, the MK caused a firestorm by declaring that Aryeh Shchupak, 16, was a “victim of the occupation” after being murdered in the terrorist bombings in Jerusalem earlier in the day.

Earlier that month, Cassif had asserted that Jews living in Judea and Samaria were liable for Palestinian attacks against them as they are not innocent civilians. “They live as a thorn in the throats of the Palestinians,” he said, adding that Palestinian attacks were “not terror.”

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