A Palestinian driver was shot and killed in Jerusalem Friday after running over two Israeli border patrolmen, with an apparent intent to kill.
The man reportedly hit two the two policemen in East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz, with reported light injuries sustained by both victims.
According to police officials, the driver drove on a short distance, and then proceeding to flee the scene on foot. Police officers called on the suspect to stop, and opened fire at him once it was clear he had ignored their instructions.
Open and shut case, right? Not so fast. One of the notable features of the media coverage of the flotilla attack (at least online) has been an unwillingness to take the Israeli account at their word. Will this positive trend continue with other examples of Israeli violence towards Palestinians? This story presents an interesting opportunity.
First off, the driver has a name, Ziad Al-Julani (pictured right). He was 38 years old and a father to four, including three girls pictured here
A report on Ma’an says he was a “a tradesman living in East Jerusalem’s Shu’fat neighborhood.” Al-Julani was killed at a temporary Israeli checkpoint that was set up in East Jerusalem following friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
A friend of Al-Julani’s, who alerted us to the story, wrote us:
Ziad Jilani was a very family oriented man, a loving husband and a devoted father. No one who knew him believes that he intentionally tried to hit the border police at the checkpoint. I heard that a stone hit his car and caused him to swerve, starting the whole horrific chain of events. I don’t know the whole story, but his wife told me that before her husband left the house that morning, they had discussed taking the kids out someplace fun that afternoon. This was no premeditated attack.
Sa’d Hamed As-Silwadi, from Silwan and the father of a child injured during the shoot-out, told the center he parked his car beside a butchery and saw Al-Julani driving toward the Al-Hadmi neighborhood in Wadi Joz, where he was killed.
He said he saw Al-Julani get out of his vehicle when he was first shot by Israeli forces. A relative of Al-Julani tried to help him, As-Silwadi said, but was kicked by Israeli forces. As-Silwadi returned to his vehicle to find his five-year-old child with a rubber bullet wound to the neck and head, and rushed him the Maqased Hospital on the Mount of Olives.
Ahmad Qutteneh told the center he saw Al-Julani running from four members of Israel’s Special Forces, approaching him and opening fire at close range. “Then I saw one of them come near him and shoot him in the face and body,” Qutteneh told the center.
Palestine Monitor helps round out the story a bit, and presents a situation where Israeli soldiers could have overreacted while under pressure from Palestinian protests:
A shopkeeper on the main street said he saw Israeli soldiers chasing ten people were shouting about the recent flotilla massacre prior to the arrival of Al-Julani’s vehicle. “Look, it’s every Friday like that. It’s normal. The people and the army are like Tom and Jerry,” said the shopkeeper, who identified himself solely as Ahmed. “But when they shot, I didn’t know what’s going on.” Ahmed speculated that the vehicle was malfunctioning, claiming out that the prevalence of Palestinian residents in the street would prevent the driver from attempting to harm Israeli forces there.
All reports confirm that Al-Julani was killed at point blank range. His friend who contacted us said, “From what I understand, Ziad fell to the ground and the police walked up to him and fired point blank into the side of his face and body. I was told the bullets left a mark in the cement under his body.” The Ma’an report adds, “Others told the center the shooter was seen ‘dancing beside the body singing and cheering ‘I killed an Arab, I killed an Arab’.'”
In the past, many would accept a story from the Israeli press about soldiers killing a Palestinian “terrorist” at face value. Is this still true after the flotilla?
[See more on the story by Amira Hass in today’s Haaretz “Israel Police shot Palestinian instead of arresting him”