Israel is a genuinely democratic country where the rule of law is firmly established. But often its police officers act like lawless thugs, especially toward Ethiopians and other minority groups. The harassment of Ethiopian monks last week by the Israeli police is despicable. The Ethiopian government has done the right thing by suspending its decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem until the Israeli government apologizes and gives an assurance that its police will not engage in such a lawless behavior against the Ethiopian monks. The Times of Israel has details of the incident:
Ethiopia said to freeze Jerusalem embassy move over anger at abuse of monks
Ethiopia has reportedly been considering moving its embassy to Jerusalem, but will no longer do so following a recent incident where Israeli police forcibly evicted Ethiopian monks from a complex owned by the Ethiopian church in Jerusalem.
“Moving the Ethiopian embassy to Jerusalem was under consideration,” said Eliezer Yasu Gil, a lawyer representing the embassy told Channel 10 on Monday. “For now this process is frozen.”
The Ethiopian ambassador to Israel, Tsegay Berha Hadera, warned last week that the forced eviction could spark a diplomatic crisis if not addressed immediately.
Amateur video footage aired by Channel 10 news showed police turning up last week at the complex on Jerusalem’s Heleni Hamalka Street, rudely addressing the monks, ordering them out of the building and trying to arrest one of them.
— חדשות עשר (@news10) June 4, 2018
Police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told The Times of Israel that the officers came to investigate a suspected burglary near the complex, and asked the monks for identification. When they didn’t provide it, he said, police accused the monks of trespassing.
“If you don’t show me identification, you don’t own the place. Now everyone get out,” one officer said in footage of the incident seen by The Times of Israel.
The complex houses an Ethiopian church and two early 20th century buildings originally designed as apartments for Ethiopian pilgrims.
The oldest monk, 84, reportedly needed medical treatment after being thrown to the ground.
A police statement said, “It’s not at all clear how criminal behavior such as this, which included cursing and violence toward the police and refusal of arrest according to the law, have changed into a torrent so slanted against the truth. One of those involved resisted arrest and injured a police officer on the hand.”