Monday, July 23, 2007

Court okays promotion of police officer taped insulting settlers

Last update - 13:52 23/07/2007
By Amiram Barkat, Haaretz Correspondent

The High Court of Justice on Monday rejected petitions seeking to halt the promotion of a police officer whose offensive remarks against settlers during Israel's 2005 pullout from Gaza sparked an uproar.

The court ruled that there was no reason to bar police officer Niso Shaham from the senior position of Jerusalem District chief.

During the disengagement from the Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank, Shaham was caught on video urging border police to "hit low with your battons, if needed." In addition, he said settlers should be "burnt, and shat on," and threatened that he was not "a whore whose legs are open...they will pay!"


Shaham was tried and reprimanded for his remarks by a police committee.

In a unanimous decision, the High Court justices ruled against the petition, stating that it is not within the court's authority to interfere with the decisions made by Police Commisioner David Cohen who decided to promote Shaham.

Justice Ayala Procaccia wrote Shaham expressed his regret over the remarks and that "a candidate's failure in the line of the duty does not necessarily disqualify him from promotion on the count of breaching the public's trust. Public trust is a term that also recognizes penitence, asking forgiveness and seeking answers."

Petitioners said in response that they would keep Shaham's conduct under close scrutiny.

"It's good that the court is compassionate, but it's a shame it is so one-sided," they added, citing Procaccia's decision to extend remands of anti-disengagement protesters by 40-days.

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