Palestinian shot dead in Israel anti-police riots

Palestinian shot dead in Israel anti-police riots
2 min read
06 June, 2017
A 21-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed in anti-police protests in a Palestinian-majority city in central Israel late on Monday.
Local residents denied police claims that the demonstrators posed a life-threatening danger [AFP]
A 21-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed in anti-police protests in a Palestinian-majority city in central Israel late on Monday.

The death in the city of Kafr Qassem followed the arrest of a wanted man in a roadside inspection, police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said in a statement.

Residents attempted to prevent the arrest by throwing stones at police, but forces managed to take the suspect to a station, the statement said. During the night, an anti-police riot erupted.

"Masked residents attacked the local police station and as a result of a life-threatening situation, a private security guard fired shots.

"A short while after, a local resident (taken) to hospital in serious condition died."

The man was identified as Palestinian citizen of Israel, Mohammed Taha.

Local residents denied police claims that the demonstrators posed a life-threatening danger to the officers, and accused them of being light on the trigger.

In January, police shot dead a 47-year-old Palestinian schoolteacher they initially called a terrorist, but later acknowledged they may have erred in shooting him.

Ayman Odeh, head of the Arab Joint List in the Israeli parliament, said Monday's violence was a result of a continued heavy-handed police policy toward Arabs.

"The police killed another Arab man," he told Israel’s Army Radio. "The police treat Arabs as enemies, not as citizens."

Odeh noted that since the watershed deadly clashes between Palestinian protesters and police in October 2000, 55 Palestinians have been shot dead by police compared to just four Jewish Israelis.

"Unfortunately, the police have not internalised that these are citizens," he said.

Kafr Qassem is home to around 20,000 residents, most of them Palestinians, and is close to the so-called Green Line separating Israel from the occupied West Bank.

In 1956, Israeli forces killed 47 people while enforcing a curfew in the area. In 2014, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin described the event as a "terrible crime". 

Many Palestinians remained on their land after the 1948 creation of Israel. Although they have Israeli citizenship, they have long complained of discrimination and racism.