I exposed here the fact that Doron Zahavi aka Captain George, the notorious torturer of Mustafa Dirani and assorted Lebanese prisoners when he served in military intelligence, became the Jerusalem Police Arab affairs liaison. His new role put him in a position to impose on East Jerusalem’s Palestinian community the same sort of highly-professional law enforcement techniques he used to such memorable effect while serving in the IDF.
I’ve already documented the threats he levelled against one community activist who he attempted to coerce into becoming an informant. Now comes word of an amazing undertaking he made to an Israeli court (pdf) during a domestic violence proceeding. Two brothers violently assaulted their sister and sister’s husband using their fists, a stick and screwdriver as weapons. The sister pressed charges against her brothers. But the prosecution asked the court to release the brothers. It seems that Doron Zahavi cooked up a Sulha (reconciliation ceremony) at which neither the sister nor her brothers were present. Undetermined third parties undertook on behalf of victim and perpetrator that there would be peace in the family.
Zahavi could not tell the judge who was present during the Sulha nor what specifically was discussed. He asked the judge to trust in him as a police officer that he would assure the safety of the victims. He also made the astonishing argument that releasing the perpetrators would decrease the danger to the sister and her husband because family members would be less inclined to take vengeance on them. Judge Moshe HaCohen’s ruling denying the motion for release did not look kindly on Zahavi’s maneuver (translation Dena Shunra):
…The weight given…to the words of Mr. Zehavi, the Arab Affairs Consultant to the Commander of the Jerusalem District, should be wondered at. It is possible that Mr. Zehavi’s conclusion, that the release of the respondent could reduce the pressure against the complainants, and especially against the female complainant, and prevent additional damage to her may be factually correct in accordance with his professional experience, although the factual foundation for this conclusion was not specified, and in fact involves only a telephone call between him and the probation officer, not supported by documents. However, even if this conclusion is in fact correct, it cannot serve as the foundation for a decision about release on bail. Relying on such a statement in fact constitutes rewarding the harming party and giving the complainant the message that the legal authorities cannot protect him….
The claim that it would be best to release a defendant in violent crimes and threats against someone complaining with the background of “family honor”, in order to reduce the pressure and motivation for additional harming of that same complainant by the [original] perpetrator and his friends and relations is an argument which would best not be made by a person who represents the law enforcement authorities.
Zahavi is responsible for the torture and sexual brutalization of male prisoners under his command. How safe should a judge consider anyone to be under Zahavi’s alleged protection?
The Israeli police have a long history of refusing to involve themselves in cases involving “family honor.” This leads regularly to cases in which women are killed at the hands of avenging male relatives; upon which law enforcement officers shrug their shoulders and murmur that in such cases there is little they can do. What they really mean is there is little that they want to do. In truth, the police do not want to involve themselves in these cases because they don’t care about the fate of such women. It reminds me in some ways of attitudes that used to prevail among law enforcement here regarding domestic violence and rape cases. There used to be a presumption that if a woman was raped she did something to deserve it. Similarly, police used to view domestic violence matters as a realm into which they should not venture.
It seems that Israeli policing is about 20 years behind that of other western countries. And if the attitudes of the Doron Zahavis of Israeli law enforcement continue to prevail they will not advance much or soon. They say that countries get the leaders they deserve. In the case of Jerusalem’s Palestinian community, this is definitely not the case.