The video above shows Israeli police shooting 22-year-old Kheir Hamdan in Kufr Kana in circumstances that totally contradict their initial account.
“It is clear from the video footage that the shooting of Hamdan was a murder, as Hamdan did not pose an immediate threat to the lives of the police officers when they shot him,” the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel said in a statement.
“Hamdan approached the officers’ van and banged on the windows with an object. The officers then opened the door of the van, got out and shot him from close range as he tried to run away from the scene, without giving any prior warning such as firing a shot into the air,” Adalah added.
“After the murder occurred, the police rushed to publish a false statement about the details of the incident, but later it became clear that cameras had documented the incident, showing that the police narrative was false and fabricated,” Adalah said.
Israeli police had previously told media that Hamdan was shot “when he tried to stab an officer during an attempt to arrest him for allegedly throwing a stun grenade in the town.”
“The officers’ actions clearly violate the open fire regulations of the police,” Adalah added. “The video also raises suspicion that the police shot Hamdan again after he was injured and had fallen to the ground.”
The group notes that “the police dragged Hamdan’s body in a humiliating manner while he was bleeding and threw him into the police van, as if they were carrying a meaningless object, instead of calling on rescue teams to save him.”
Adalah called for the officers involved in the shooting to be suspended immediately and for a criminal investigation to be opened under the supervision of Israel’s attorney general.
Adalah expressed pessimism that the existing system could result in accountability. “The experience of Arab citizens proves that the Israeli Police Investigation Unit (Mahash) will not seriously investigate an incident of an Arab citizen’s murder at the hands of the police, and will not take those responsible for the murder to trial,” attorney Hussein Abu Hussein said in the statement.
Result of incitement
Adalah noted that the shooting came after direct incitement to violence against Arab citizens of Israel by a senior minister:
Adalah sees a direct connection between the murder of Kheir Hamdan and the statements made earlier this week by Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich. The Minister stated that anyone who attacks Israeli Jewish citizens should be killed immediately. In any democratic society that respects the life of its citizens, any government minister that makes statements such as those by Yitzhak Aharonovich should be immediately dismissed.
There are more than 1.6 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, who unlike Palestinians living under Israeli siege and occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, are supposedly afforded civil rights and protections.
However, Palestinian citizens of Israel live under dozens of laws and de facto practices that leave them at best with second-class citizenship.
The Israeli state recognized this in the Or Commission report produced after the October 2000 police killings of thirteen Palestinian citizens of Israel. But as Patrick O. Strickland reported last month, Israeli police brutality against Palestinian citizens remains unchecked fourteen years after that massacre.
Kheir Hamdan’s killing is only the latest by Israeli forces to be caught on video. In May, CNN and security camera video showed the cold-blooded killings by Israeli snipers of two teens, Nadim Nuwara and Muhammad Abu al-Thahir, in the occupied West Bank village of Beitunia.
In December 2012, a camera caught the killing of seventeen-year-old Muhammad al-Salaymeh in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. In that case, as in the killing of Hamdan, the video directly contradicted Israeli claims that the youth posed an immediate threat to the person who shot him.
Protests and repression
This video shows hundreds of people marching in Hamdan’s funeral in Kufr Kana as many more line the streets:On Saturday, thousands of people marched through the town in a protest: As this video posted on Saturday shows, Israeli police stationed large numbers of forces at the entrances to Kufr Kana: Strikes and protests against Hamdan’s killings have continued in Palestinian cities towns across the Galilee and the north of present-day Israel, including in Haifa, Umm al-Fahm, Sakhnin and Tamra.