Five Border Policemen Charged With Robbing Palestinians

TEL AVIV (AP) -
A view of the security fence near the Gaza border. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Five border policemen were charged  on Thursday with stealing from Palestinians who were crossing illegally into Israel from the West Bank.

The officers were charged with armed robbery, assault causing harm and abuse of a defenseless person, among other crimes. The Justice Ministry has asked that four of the accused be held in remand throughout court proceedings.

According to the indictment, the five paramilitary border police officers abused their authority and, in uniform and using their weapons, robbed Palestinians who were crossing into Israel by sneaking through a breach in the security fence.

“They carried out these acts as they were exploiting the Palestinians’ weakness, at times using their weapons to threaten them and even hitting them, and under the assumption that because these were illegals they would not report to law enforcement,” a statement from the Justice Ministry said.

The Justice Ministry said the theft took placed as the officers appeared to inspect the Palestinians’ identities. During the inspections, one of the accused took the Palestinians’ wallets to the police vehicle, where the money was stolen.

It said the accused filmed some of the abuse against the Palestinians.

Thousands of Palestinians cross into Israel illegally through holes in the security fence. Most are itinerant workers looking for employment in Israel’s more robust economy.