JERUSALEM (AA) – The Israeli authorities on Tuesday refused a request by the EU to investigate the alleged beating and arrest of an Arab-Israeli activist during a pro-Gaza demonstration in Haifa last weekend.
Describing his country as “the only democracy in the Middle East”, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said Israel “does not need lessons in morality from a biased and obsessive body like the EU”.
“This campaign of persecution brimming with hypocrisy against Israel and these attempts to tarnish its name are doomed to failure,” Erdan said, according to Israel’s Channel 7 television broadcaster.
“I propose to the EU not to interfere in the internal affairs of the State of Israel,” he added.
Earlier today, the EU urged the Israeli authorities to investigate the circumstances of the recent injury of Jafar Farah, director of the Mossawa Center, an NGO.
Farah was arrested in Haifa last weekend along with 18 other demonstrators who had expressed solidarity with Gaza’s plight.
Farah was allegedly beaten by an Israeli police officer during his arrest, causing a fracture of the knee.
On Saturday, Dozens of Arab-Israelis were beaten — including parliament members Jamal Zahalka and Hanin Zoubi — after police dispersed a pro-Gaza rally in the northern port city of Haifa.
Demonstrators had called on Israel to lift its decade-long blockade of the Gaza Strip, end its decades-long occupation of the West Bank, and stop attacking unarmed protesters.
Since March 30, more than 110 Palestinian protesters near the Gaza-Israel security fence have been martyred — and thousands more injured — by Israeli army gunfire.