UN agency 'shocked' by Israel’s killing of Palestinian man

OHCHR 'shocked' by Israel's killing of Palestinian man in Jerusalem
2 min read
05 December, 2021
The OHCRHR body is among dozens of other rights organisations who have denounced Israeli forces' excessive use of force.
Israeli police investigated the scene after Israeli forces killed a Palestinian for alleged "attempted stabbing" in Jerusalem [Enes Canli/Anadolu Agency via Getty]

The UN Human Rights Office in Palestine (OHCHR) said it was shocked by the extra-judicial killing of a Palestinian man by Israeli forces in Jerusalem on Saturday, following an alleged stabbing attack.

"The UN Human Rights Office is shocked by the apparent extra-judicial execution of Mohammad Shawkat Sleemah today at Damascus Gate in Jerusalem," the UN office wrote in a statement on Facebook. 

Footage which circulated on social media showed Sleemah, a Palestinian in his twenties, laying injured on the ground after he was shot by Israeli forces. Videos showed the man was then approached by two Israeli officers, who fired at him twice more while he was on the ground, eventually killing him.

"Extra-judicial killings such as this are the consequence of the regular resort to lethal force by well-armed and well-protected Israeli security personnel against Palestinians, and the almost total lack of accountability for killings and injuries of Palestinians by Israeli forces," the OHCHR statement said.

The victim of the stabbing was a 20-year-old man who was taken to hospital in moderate to severe condition. According to the Israeli Ministry of Justice, the two police officers involved in the incident were brought in for 'routine investigation' over the killing and released without conditions.

On social media, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett posed with the two police officers to display his support, saying they "deserve appreciation" for neutralizing "a terrorist". 

The shooting drew comparisons to a 2016 incident in which an Israeli soldier was filmed shooting a wounded Palestinian attacker on the ground.

Israel occupies Palestine's West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967 in violation of international law. The stabbing occurred just outside Jerusalem's Old City, a tense area that often witnesses protests and clashes.

Dozens of stabbings have been recorded in Jerusalem in recent years amidst heightening tensions over the status of the city, which Israeli considers as its capital despite Palestinians' claims to half of the city.

A majority of stabbings have been attributed to Palestinian militants, but some have also been carried out by Jewish settlers against Palestinians.

Human rights groups have accused security forces of using excessive force in response to attacks, killing suspected assailants who could have been arrested.