Israeli leaders celebrate extrajudicial execution

Hamas supporters in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip carry posters of Ahmad Nasser Jarrar after the Palestinian man was killed by Israeli forces in the northern West Bank, evading capture by Israel for more than a month, 6 February.

Ashraf Amra APA images

In the early morning hours on Tuesday Israeli occupation forces killed a Palestinian man who they claim was involved in the shooting death of an Israeli settler in early January.

A second Palestinian was reportedly killed during confrontations with soldiers in the northern occupied West Bank on Tuesday night. The confrontations erupted as the Israeli military surrounded a house in Nablus belonging to the father of a Palestinian who Israel suspects of fatally stabbing another Israeli settler a day earlier.

Palestinian outlets identified the person slain in Nablus as Khalid Abu Tayeh:

The Palestinian Authority health ministry stated that 32 people were injured by live fire during the confrontations and six were critically wounded.

Statements by Israeli leaders and intelligence bodies indicate that the Palestinian killed during the pre-dawn hours on Tuesday may have been extrajudicially executed, according to the Palestinian Center for Human rights.

Ahmad Nasser Jarrar, 22, was shot and his body taken away by the Israeli military during the raid on Yamoun village near the city of Jenin, also in the northern West Bank.

The military had been in pursuit of Jarrar for more than a month following the 9 January slaying of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, a resident of Havat Gilad, a West Bank settlement outpost not formally authorized by the Israeli government.

Two Palestinians were previously killed by Israeli soldiers during their campaign to find Jarrar.

Pressure cooker procedure

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights stated that a large force of Israeli soldiers “accompanied [by] a bulldozer and backed by a drone and helicopter” moved into Yamoun village at 4am on Tuesday.

The force surrounded an abandoned building that was formerly used by the Palestinian Authority National Security Forces.

“Explosions and heavy shooting were heard in the area,” according to the rights group.

At around 7am Israeli media began reporting that Ahmad Nasser Jarrar was killed.

The army claimed that Jarrar was shot to death when he emerged from the surrounded building carrying an M-16 rifle.

The Israeli outlet Ynet reported that Jarrar had at first “refused to surrender,” and that the military launched a missile at the building, “following which combat engineering troops started demolishing the house with a bulldozer to pressure him to exit the structure.”

Palestinians inspect site where Israeli forces killed Ahmad Nasser Jarrar in the West Bank village of Yamoun, 6 February.

Ayman Ameen APA images

This Israeli army tactic, in which construction equipment is employed as a weapon, is known as the “pressure cooker” procedure.

The army employed the tactic during a massive military raid on the Wadi Burqin neighborhood near Jenin that began the night of 17 January and ended the next morning.

Israel initially claimed that a Palestinian killed during that raid was Ahmad Nasser Jarrar but Palestinian sources announced that the slain man was Ahmad Ismail Jarrar, a cousin of the wanted fighter. The army seized Ahmad Ismail Jarrar’s body during the operation and has yet to return his remains to his family for burial.

Occupation forces continued to raid homes in the Jenin area in search of Ahmad Nasser Jarrar after he evaded arrest during the mid-January operation in Wadi Burqin.

The family of Ahmad Abu Ubeid mourn during the teenager’s funeral after he was killed during confrontations with Israeli forces, Jenin, 4 February.

Shadi Jarar’ah APA images

A Palestinian teenager was killed during a subsequent raid in eastern Burqin on 3 February.

During that operation soldiers occupied rooftops and fired sound bombs and explosives, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

The army used loudspeakers to call on Ahmad Nasser Jarrar to surrender himself, threatening to demolish all houses in the neighborhood.

Palestinian youths gathered in the area of the operation and threw stones and empty bottles at the soldiers, who opened fire on them.

Ahmad Samir Mahmoud Ubeid, 18, was shot in the head and died from his injuries later that day.

Ahmad Nasser Jarrar was lauded as a hero by many Palestinians after avoiding capture by the military for several weeks.

Palestinians gathered in the streets of Burqin and celebrated the military’s failure to seize Jarrar during a raid on the village on Monday:

Israeli leaders greeted the news of Ahmad Nasser Jarrar’s death with praise of the army.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israeli forces will “reach anyone who tries to attack Israeli citizens and we will bring them to justice. The same applies to the murderers of Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal,” referring to the settler fatally stabbed on Monday.

Defense minister Avigdor Lieberman congratulated the army and police units involved, adding that “It was clear that it was only a matter of time until we hit the head of the cell that murdered Rabbi Raziel Shevach.”

He implied that Israeli forces would also kill the Palestinian suspected in Monday’s slaying: “I hope and believe that in the near future we will also extend our hand to the murderer of Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal.”

Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s president, made a similar statement: “I have no doubt that the murderer of Itamar Ben Gal and his collaborators will be pursued until we reach them.”

The Shin Bet, Israel’s secret police, made no mention of an exchange of fire in its statement on the operation that led to Ahmad Nasser Jarrar’s death. The absence of any claim that Jarrar opened fire on Israeli soldiers “indicat[es] that the operation aimed to kill Jarrar and not to arrest him,” according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.

Extrajudicial death penalty

Israel has a de facto extrajudicial death penalty for Palestinians it suspects of harming Israelis. Israeli media parrot the state’s condemnation of such Palestinians without charge or trial.

Israel’s Ynet deferred to claims made by the Shin Bet by describing Jarrar as “the head of the terror cell responsible for the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach,” adding that Jarrar “personally took part in the shooting,” though he was never tried in any court.

The Tel Aviv daily Haaretz similarly referred to Jarrar as “head operative responsible for the January murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach,” presenting the Shin Bet’s claims as verified fact.

Haaretz likewise described Ahmad Ismail Jarrar, killed in the 17 January raid, as “another man involved in the attack,” apparently treating the claims of the Shin Bet as facts requiring no further investigation or confirmation.


Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.