Israeli lawmaker manhandled by police as protest against Palestinian evictions turns violent (VIDEOS, PHOTOS)

An Israeli lawmaker has fired off an angry tirade at the government after a video appeared to show him being punched in the face by a police officer at a weekly protest in a majority-Palestinian neighborhood.

Footage shows Knesset member Ofer Cassif engaged in an angry confrontation with cops, before he’s hit in the face, dragged away and then held on the ground by members of the security forces.

Cassif’s glasses were broken and shirt ripped during the encounter in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where demonstrators were voicing their anger against potential evictions of Palestinians from the area. Police reportedly fired stun grenades and arrested two activists.

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In a later video the visibly-upset lawmaker, who is the only Jewish member of the Joint List alliance of Arab-majority political parties, slammed the police officers’ tactics, as well as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s administration.

Loud bangs could be heard as Cassif claimed the police, led by the “fascist” government, protected “criminal” settlers who are accused of evicting Palestinians.

The incident has been condemned by figures across Israel’s political spectrum, including within Netanyahu’s own Likud party.

For years, several families in the Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood have faced eviction from East Jerusalem. Many countries consider the area illegally occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. In February four families from the area lost an appeal in relation to eviction notices, thus speeding up the potential transfer of their homes to Israelis.

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