Police Officers in Ski Masks Carrying Out Mass Arrests in East Jerusalem

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel sent a letter on 25 August 2014 to Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino regarding the use of ski masks by police forces during arrests in East Jerusalem. The letter, sent by ACRI Attorney Yusef Karram, requested that the Police Commissioner conduct an immediate review of the frequent use of ski masks by police forces during arrests, and order his officers to utilize such measures only in exceptional circumstances where there is a clear justification and in accordance with official regulations.


During the last two months, since the kidnapping and murder of 16-year old Mohammed Abu Khdeir on July 2nd, police forces have arrested more than 550 East Jerusalem residents, including 166 minors. According to testimonies collected by ACRI, dozens of masked police officers, wearing no visible identification, have been arresting Palestinian residents in various neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Police regulations stipulate that, subject to extraordinary circumstances, police officers must have their faces uncovered, wear name tags on their uniforms, and clearly identify themselves before executing an arrest.


Among the testimonies collected by ACRI:


    • On July 16, 2014, at 3:15am, some twenty armed and masked policemen jumped over the fence and entered the home of M.T., the father of a large family living in the neighborhood of Shuafat in East Jerusalem. According to M.T, the officers burst into the house after pounding hysterically on the doors and entered the bedrooms without identifying themselves. They terrified the children in the house by screaming and yelling and forced the entire family to sit in one room. The police handcuffed his 21-year old son and covered his eyes with a cloth tied around his head.


  • On July 11, 2014, at 3:00am, police forces burst into the home of 22 year old B.M, a resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya. All of the officers were masked and possessed no identification tags. They searched every corner of the house, broke the cupboards and threw all of my belongings onto the floor.


Attorney  Karram: “We are asking the national police chief to intervene and ensure that the widespread use of ski masks during arrests comes to an end. The law clearly instructs that except under specific and unusual circumstances, police personal must be identifiable at all times as a measure to protect both civilians and the police forces themselves. Without faces and names, policemen are simply a group of unidentified, unknown gunmen barging into homes in the middle of the night – a practice characteristic of tyrannical regimes”.


Additional Materials

To read the full letter sent to Police Commissioner Danino (in Hebrew), click here.

For more information on ACRI’s original correspondence about police violence in East Jerusalem, click here.

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Categories: East Jerusalem, Police and Security Guards


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