Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has vowed to sentence to death a Palestinian who was arrested after his car hit a group of Israeli soldiers, killing two, in the northern occupied West Bank on Friday. Two more soldiers were seriously injured.
“We will seek the death penalty for the terrorist, the destruction of his house and punishment for anyone who cooperated [with him],” The Times of Israel reported Lieberman as saying.
Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party is pushing legislation that would allow for Palestinians convicted of fatal attacks on Israelis to be punished by death. The bill passed a preliminary reading in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, in January.
In many such cases, no Israelis were injured during what Israel claimed were attacks on soldiers or civilians. In some instances, such as the shooting death of 15-year-old Mahmoud Badran as he was returning home from a pool party, or the killing of Mustafa al-Nimr near Jerusalem, Israel later admitted that no attack was being attempted at all when Palestinians were killed by occupation forces.
The Israeli rights group B’Tselem has excoriated Israel’s top leadership for an open-fire policy that it says amounts to “street executions.”
Israel has already carried out collective punishment measures against the family of Ala Qabha, 27, the Palestinian motorist who was also injured, but not seriously, on Friday.
Yoav Mordechai, the head of COGAT, the bureaucratic enforcement arm of Israel’s military occupation regime, ordered the immediate revocation of around 100 work permits for Qabha’s relatives.
The Israeli military also raided Qabha’s home in the village of Bartaa, which straddles the boundary between Israel and the West Bank, and reportedly arrested his 25-year-old brother.
Photos showing the raid were published on social media:
A photo of Qubha also circulated on social media:
A relative of Qabha told the Israel daily Haaretz that Qabha was a house painter and was returning home from the city of Jenin, where he had gone to buy paint, when his car hit the soldiers.
“He’s not politically affiliated or part of any organization. We believe this is an unfortunate accident and not a terrorist attack as they claim,” the relative told Haaretz.
Israeli forces have killed 18 Palestinians so far this year, the majority during protests and confrontations with soldiers.
A Palestinian who Israel claims was involved in the shooting death of an Israeli settler in January was killed in February in what a human rights group said was a “pre-planned case of ‘shoot-to-kill’” praised by Israel’s top leadership.
One Palestinian was killed by a settlement security guard during what Israel claims was an alleged stabbing attack in February.