Israeli forces kill Palestinian in Jerusalem

Man in medical uniform sits at desk with framed diplomas on wall behind him

Hazem al-Joulani

Israeli occupation forces shot and killed a Palestinian man in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday.

Israeli police claimed that the man, 50-year-old Hazem al-Joulani, was attempting to stab officers before he was shot.

A statement released by the Israeli police appears to be an admission that al-Joulani was executed as a matter of first resort.

The police said that “the assailant … armed with a knife” approached a post of officers near the al-Aqsa mosque compound “and tried to injure the forces there.”

The statement adds: “A quick response by the officers and border guards, who opened fire at the assailant, neutralized him before he could carry out this intention.”

In other words, occupation forces executed al-Joulani rather than attempting to disarm and restrain him using less than lethal force.


Israeli police released security camera footage purportedly showing al-Joulani attacking occupation forces with a knife:

The edited video appears to show al-Joulani walking down an Old City alley while carrying a bag. He drops the bag and runs as he approaches the police post.

The video then appears to show al-Joulani reaching towards an Israeli Border Police officer with his left hand while holding a knife in his right hand. The officer steps back from al-Joulani for several seconds before al-Joulani is shot by the officer and falls to the ground.

At no point does the video show al-Joulani lunging towards the officer with the hand carrying the knife, which he holds behind his back.

Israeli police release such security camera footage when it appears to serve the Israeli narrative. In other cases, such as the street execution of Iyad Hallaq, a Palestinian man with autism, it has suppressed the publication of such footage.

A short clip circulated on social media on Friday showing an Israeli officer’s foot on al-Joulani’s back as he lay bleeding on the street.

Al-Joulani was admitted to a hospital in critical condition with a gunshot wound to the upper body, according to Israeli media. He later died of his injuries.

One Israeli officer was lightly injured in the leg from a ricocheted bullet fired by police.

Eyewitnesses told Palestinian media that Israeli forces prevented bystanders from approaching al-Joulani. It is not clear whether Israeli forces attempted to provide first-aid to al-Joulani immediately after he was shot.

Israeli forces raided al-Joulani’s home in Shuafat, a neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem, and arrested two of his brothers and two of his sons, according to Palestinian outlets:

Palestinians protested in Shuafat following the killing, raid and arrests:
Israeli media reported that al-Joulani, the director of an alternative medicine college, was beset with financial difficulties and had recently attempted suicide.

Khaldoun Najm, a lawyer contacted by the al-Joulani family, stated that Israeli police could have fired in the air or at the lower parts of al-Joulani’s body, “but they decided to execute him.”

The lawyer added that there are negotiations with the Israeli authorities to transfer al-Joulani’s body for burial in the coming days.

Shoot-to-kill policy

Human rights groups have long condemned what they say amounts to a shoot-to-kill policy used by Israel against scores of Palestinians in recent years.

In many cases, occupation forces fail to provide Palestinians with first-aid after they’ve been shot and wounded.

Amnesty International has said that the intentional failure to withhold medical aid “violates the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment.”

Meanwhile, Israel withholds the bodies of Palestinians slain in the course of what it claims were attacks on soldiers and civilians.

Israel’s highest court has approved this practice of holding the bodies of slain Palestinians so that they may be used as leverage in political negotiations.

The shooting death of al-Joulani came as Israel is on high alert following the escape of six Palestinians from a maximum-security prison in Israel.

Two of the escaped prisoners – Mahmoud Aradeh and Yaqoub Qadri – were arrested in Nazareth on Friday, according to Israeli media.


Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.