Palestinians say the killing, captured on video, is unjustified
HAWARA, West Bank (AP) — A makeshift sidewalk memorial with a Palestinian flag and a message of mourning paid tribute Saturday to a 22-year-old Palestinian man whose death at the hands of an Israeli border policeman — four shots from a gun at close range — was captured on widely shared amateur footage video.
A day after the shooting in the occupied West Bank city of Hawara, Palestinians rejected claims by Israeli police that Amar Adili was shot in self-defense after attacking Israelis, including a border policeman, and resisting arrest.
They said the police officer killed Adili without justification and that Israeli security forces prevented Palestinian medics from trying to save the badly wounded man as he lay on the pavement in a busy street.
The 38-second video begins with a brawl between the border policeman and three Palestinians, including Adili, on the sidewalk as traffic passes by. The cop pulls Adili in a choke and they trade punches after Adili breaks free. He tries to grab the officer’s assault rifle, which falls to the ground behind the officer, out of Adili’s immediate reach. The officer then draws his gun and fires four shots as an unarmed Adili falls to the ground.
In the immediate aftermath of Friday’s fatal shooting, police said Adili was carrying a knife and tried to attack two Israelis in a car, then tried to force his way into the locked vehicle with a rock. It said the driver shot and wounded Adili, who then attacked a group of border guards, stabbing one in the face, police said. The border guard tried to arrest Adili, who resisted and tried to grab the officer’s weapon, police said. The officer who shot him was not injured.
Hawara Mayor Moen Dmeidi and others on Saturday cited secondhand accounts that there had been an altercation between Adili and an Israeli driver after a car crash, but reporters from The Associated Press were unable to locate witnesses to the events leading up to the shooting.
Dmeidi said the policeman had no reason to kill Adili after he had already overpowered him. Adili was “killed in cold blood,” said the mayor, who arrived at the scene moments after the shooting. In a second video, Adili is seen moving and rolling on the ground after being shot, and it is unclear at what point he died.
Dmeidi said a Palestinian ambulance arrived minutes after the shooting, but security forces prevented medics from rendering aid. Dmeidi said Israel did not hand over Adili’s body for burial.
Tor Venesland, the UN special envoy for the Middle East peace process, tweeted that he was “horrified” by the shooting and sent his “heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family”. He called for a thorough investigation and said those responsible should be held accountable.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nashon accused the envoy of distorting reality.
“This incident is a terrorist attack where an Israeli policeman was stabbed in the face and another policeman’s life was threatened and he subsequently shot his attacker,” Nahshon wrote on Twitter.
On Saturday, shops along Hawara’s main road were closed in protest against the shooting.
A makeshift memorial marked the spot where Adili died, consisting of a Palestinian flag on a short pole and a death poster leaning against it. The poster with Adili’s photo said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah party was mourning its son “who was killed at the hands of the Zionist occupation.”
The video of Adili’s final moments was rare documentation of one of the increasingly common violent incidents involving Israeli security forces and Palestinians, including the attackers.
Meanwhile, Israeli jets struck several Hamas-linked sites in the Gaza Strip early Sunday, hours after Palestinian militants fired a rocket into southern Israel in an action apparently linked to rising tensions in the occupied West Bank, Israel said.
Israel’s military said the airstrikes targeted a weapons workshop and underground tunnel belonging to Hamas, the group that has controlled Gaza since 2007. The military said more shells were fired over the border as warplanes struck sites in Gaza.
Rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions made 2022 the deadliest year in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the long-running conflict since 2006. Further escalation is likely as the most right-wing and religious government in Israel’s history is set to be installed in the coming weeks as former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns to power.
More than 140 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting this year. The Israeli army claims that most of the Palestinians killed were fighters. But stone-throwing youths protesting Israeli army incursions and others not involved in confrontations have also been killed.
Friday’s deadly shooting came amid months of Israeli arrests in the West Bank, sparked by a spate of Palestinian attacks on Israelis in the spring that left 19 dead. The military says the raids are aimed at breaking up militant networks and thwarting future attacks, but Palestinians say they entrench Israel’s endless occupation, now in its 56th year. A recent spate of Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets killed another nine people.
Akram reported from Hamilton, Ontario.
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