The internal affairs investigation department at the Israeli Police acquitted on Sunday Israeli police officers who were involved in the death of 12 Arab residents of Israel shot killed by the police late October,  2000.

The families of the victims protested outside the court, in Jerusalem, after its ruling; Arab member of Knesset Azmi Bishara, Balad party, called for widespread protests.

One of the cases which Israeli investigators closed was the case of Israeli police commander Alik Ron, and district commander Moshe Waldman, who were involved of giving direct orders to their snipers to open fire at the residents, said to be throwing stones at the police during clashes which erupted at the beginning of Al Aqsa Intifada in the occupied territories.

Israeli investigators claimed not finding sufficient evidence to indict any of the officers, and that they “were not able to locate some of the officers involved in the shootings”.

Arab Member of Knesset (MK) Abdul-Malik Dahamshe (United Arab List) said that this report “a repeat of the murder of the 13 victims, and signals to Israeli soldiers and olicemen that it is permissible to spill the blood of Arabs without fear of punishment or trial”.

Twelve Arab residents of Israel, and one Palestinian from Gaza were killed during the clashes; dozens of residents were injured.

MK Azmi Bishara said that it was clear from the first moment that the court would sweep away “the crime instead of brining the guilty parties to justice”, “We cannot remain silent, I would recommend a general strike and protests in every Arab area in Israel”.

Hadash party chairman, MK Mohammad Barakeh, said that acquitting the police officers involved in the crime does not mean that they are innocent, “It means that the state of Israel is guilty”.

“The state killed its residents with such a decision”, Barakeh said, “The Internal Affairs Unit is actually saying that the murderer is the one that sends out the guilty, and that is the State of Israel”.

“We will not stop, we will sue all of those involved in killing our children, we will sue them in Israel and in international forums”, Barakeh reported, “We will look for justice elsewhere, if Israeli justice cannot bring relief to its residents”.

The Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that Lawyers of Adalah (The Legal Center for Minority Rights in Israel), which represent the families of the victims, received copies of the 80-page report on Sunday morning.

Haaretz said that the conclusions of the “investigation” will be released to the public on Sunday afternoon.

The court ignored attacks carried out by extremist Jewish groups against the Arab residents of Israel, which included burning a mosque in Tiberius, and hurling stones at a mosque in Jaffa, in addition to several attacks against Arab residents of Israel, in Jewish cities. 

The investigation unit claimed that the “riots” did not enable the investigators to reach the area in the right time and collect testimonies and facts, and claimed that it was not safe for the interrogators to be in the area.

Some of the claims presented by the court were;

- Some evidences were changed, or disappeared.

- The families of the victims failed to cooperate.

- Thousands of residents were involved in the events, which made the work of the police more difficult.

- Police investigators were unable to locate the policemen involved in the killings, and that the investigators were not able to collect their testimonies directly after the incidents occurred.

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