Anger explodes in Galilee after Israeli police shoot Palestinian

Anger explodes in Galilee after Israeli police shoot Palestinian
2 min read
08 November, 2014
Angry demonstrations shook a village in north Israel after police shot dead a young Palestinian resident.
Youths erected burning barricades in the village [AFP]

Public anger in the village of Kafr Kanna, in Israel's northern Galilee area, has exploded after Israeli police shot dead a Palestinian in the early hours of Saturday morning. The village has seen a general strike and demonstrations as youths barricaded a main street and burned tyres in protest at the killing of 22-year-old Khair Hamdan.

In a statement, Israeli police claimed Hamdan tried to attack members of the police with a knife when they arrived to arrest his relative suspected of throwing a stun grenade in a family dispute. The police felt they were in danger and shot him in the upper body. He later died in hospital of his injuries.

The quick recourse of Israeli police to the use of force when faced with Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship is a sensitive political issue.

The Higher Committee for the Prevention of Violence in Israel condemned what they called "a crime of the Israeli police in firing live ammunition at the Palestinian young man, Khair Hamdan from Kafr Kanna, which lead to his death".

In its statement, the committee blamed the police force and held them responsible for Hamdan's death, saying that the police force dealt aggressively with Palestinian citizens of Israel. The committee added that Israel had not implemented the recommendations of the Orr Commission, formed after clashes in Jerusalem, during which 13 young Palestinians were killed by police fire.

At the time, the committee said the police force dealt with Palestinian citizens of Israel "in a hostile, antagonistic and racist manner".

     The police find opening fire on an Arab citizen very easy.

The head of the committee, lawyer Taleb al-Sanea, commented that "the police have become a source of violence and have violated the rights and dignity of Arab citizens. The police find that opening fire on an Arab citizen is very easy".

Sanea said the committee would launch a thorough investigation of the killing "and bring the perpetrators to trial".

Israeli Knesset Member Masoud Ghanayem, of the Islamic movement and the United Arab List, called on Israel's interior minister to launch an immediate investigation into the circumstances of Hamdan's killing. 

In a letter to the minister, Ghanayem said that Khair Hamdan's family and neighbours, who witnessed the incident, "confirmed that he was not carrying a knife and did not pose a threat to the lives of the members of the police force".

"The police force could have arrested him without needing to kill him," he concluded.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.