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Israeli Police Brutality Remembered

MAIL:

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

To the Editors of The Crimson:

These days as Palestinians and Israelis exchange bitter accusations over events of October 8 in Jerusalem, I thought Harvard students might be interested in hearing my story.

On May 2, 1989, I was in Jerusalem enjoying my spring break. While walking in the Old City, I stopped and watched a group of young Palestinians handing their identitity cards to Israeli police. They were trying to get into the garden surrounding the shrine where last week's tragedy happened. They were not making any trouble. There was no provocation. I stood nearby and watched.

As a white American by birth and background, I had always believed that my nationality protected me. Unfortunately for me, I had dark hair and a moustache.

Within minutes, the police called in a riot squad who brutally beat everyone in sight, including me. The riot police hit me on the back of the neck with the butt of a tear-gas gun. They hit me on the ear with riot sticks swung like baseball bats. They kicked me repeatedly in the ribs.

The Israeli police did not stop to ask me for identification, and I had no time to pull out my American passport. I did not have time to say a word. Since then I have heard of many cases where foreign travelers have been indiscriminately beaten by Israeli soldiers or police who mistook the foreigners for Palestinians. Strephon Treadway   Harvard Law School '93

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