HAWARA, West Bank (AP) – A Palestinian flag-flagged pedestrian memorial and a memorial service were held Saturday for a 22-year-old Palestinian man killed by an Israeli border police officer – four shots from a gun at close range – in a widely circulated amateur video. was done
A day after a shooting spree in the occupied West Bank city of Hawara, Palestinians backed off after Israeli police said Ammar Odili was shot in self-defense after attacking Israelis, including a border policeman, and resisting arrest.
They said the officer killed Odili without justification and that Israeli security forces prevented Palestinian medics from trying to save the seriously wounded man as he lay on the side of a busy highway.
The 38-second clip begins with a border police officer and three Palestinians, including Adili, fighting on a sidewalk as traffic passes by. The officer removes Adili in a choke hold and they strike after Adili is freed. He tries to take the officer’s rifle, which falls to the ground behind the officer, from Odili’s hand. The officer then draws his gun and fires four shots, causing Odili to fall to the ground unarmed.
Immediately after Friday’s fatal shooting, police alleged that Odili was armed with a knife and tried to attack two Israelis in a car, then threw a rock into the locked car. It says that the driver shot and injured Adili, who then accused a group of border police and stabbed him in the face. According to the police, the border police officer tried to arrest Odili, who resisted and tried to take the officer’s weapon. The officer who shot him was not injured.
Hawara Mayor Muin Dmeidi and others said Saturday, citing second-hand reports, that there was an altercation between Adili and an Israeli driver after a car accident, but Associated Press reporters could not find witnesses to the shooting.
Dmeidi said the officer had no reason to kill Odili as he had already overpowered him. The mayor, who arrived at the scene moments after the shooting, said Adili was “killed in cold blood.” In the second video, Odili is seen moving and writhing on the ground after being shot, and it is unclear at what point he died.
Dmeidi said a Palestinian ambulance arrived a few minutes after the shooting, but security forces prevented medics from providing aid. Dmeidi said that Israel did not hand over Odili’s body for burial.
Thor Wennesland, the UN special envoy for the Middle East peace process, tweeted that he was “appalled” by the shooting and sent his “heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family”. He demanded a comprehensive investigation and said that those responsible should be held accountable.
The spokesman of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Emmanuel Nahshon, accused the envoy of distorting the facts.
“This incident is a terrorist attack in which an Israeli police officer was stabbed in the face and another police officer was threatened and he shot his assailant,” Nahshan tweeted.
Shops on the main Hawara highway were closed on Saturday to protest the firing.
A makeshift memorial marked the site of Adili’s death, consisting of a Palestinian flag on a short pole and a death placard resting on it. The poster with Adili’s photo says that the Fatah party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas mourns his son, who was “killed by the Zionist invaders.”
The video of Adili’s final moments was a rare document of one of the increasingly violent incidents involving Israeli security forces and Palestinians, including the attackers.
Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes struck several Hamas-linked sites in the Gaza Strip early Sunday, hours after Palestinian militants fired rockets into southern Israel, Israel said, in what Israel said was an apparent escalation of tensions in the occupied West Bank.
The Israeli military said the airstrikes targeted a weapons factory and an underground tunnel belonging to Hamas, the militant group that has controlled Gaza since 2007. According to the military, more shells were fired over the border while the warplanes hit the Gaza sites.
Escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions have made 2022 the deadliest year in the West Bank and East Jerusalem conflict since 2006. There is likely to be more escalation as the most right-wing and sectarian government in Israel’s history is set to be installed in the country. in the coming weeks with the return of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to power.
This year, more than 140 Palestinians have been killed in the battles between Israel and Palestine. The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed were militants. However, stone-throwing youths protesting against the attack of the Israeli army and others who did not participate in the conflict were also killed.
Friday’s deadly shooting comes amid months of Israeli detention raids in the West Bank, which have been sparked by Palestinian attacks on Israelis in the spring that killed 19 people. The military says the raids are aimed at dismantling militant networks and preventing future attacks, but Palestinians say they are ending Israel’s sprawling occupation, now in its 56th year. The latest wave of Palestinian attacks against Israeli targets killed 9 more people.
Akram reported from Hamilton, Ontario.