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Palestinians say filmed killing was unjustified

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HAWARA, West Bank – A makeshift sidewalk memorial with a Palestinian flag and a mourning notice paid tribute on Saturday to a 22-year-old Palestinian man whose death at the hands of an Israeli Border Police officer – four pistol shots close range – was captured on widely shared amateur video.

A day after the shooting in the occupied West Bank town of Hawara, Palestinians have pushed back against Israeli police claims that Ammar Adili was shot in self-defense after attacking Israelis, including a border guard. and resisted arrest.

They said the officer killed Adili without justification and that Israeli security forces prevented Palestinian medics from trying to save the badly injured man as he lay on the sidewalk of a busy thoroughfare.

The 38-second video begins with a fight between the border policeman and three Palestinians, including Adili, on the sidewalk as traffic rushes. The officer pulls Adili into a chokehold and they trade blows after Adili breaks free. He tries to grab the officer’s assault rifle, which falls to the ground behind the officer, out of Adili’s immediate reach. The officer then draws his pistol and fires four shots as an unarmed Adili falls to the ground.

Immediately after Friday’s fatal shooting, police alleged that Adili carried a knife and attempted to attack two Israelis in a car, then tried to break into the locked vehicle with a rock. The driver shot and injured Adili, who then charged at a group of border guards, stabbing one in the face, police said. The Border Patrol officer tried to arrest Adili, who resisted and tried to grab the officer’s gun, police said. The policeman who shot him was not injured.

Hawara Mayor Moein Dmeidy and others on Saturday cited second-hand accounts that there was an altercation between Adili and an Israeli motorist after a car crash, but Associated Press reporters could not. find witnesses to the events leading up to the shooting.

Dmeidy said the officer had no justification for killing Adili after having already subdued him. Adili was “killed in cold blood”, said the mayor, who arrived at the scene moments after the shooting. In a second video, Adili is seen moving and rolling on the ground after being shot, and it is unclear when he died.

Dmeidy said a Palestinian ambulance arrived minutes after the shooting, but security forces prevented medics from administering aid. Dmeidy said Israel did not hand over Adili’s body for burial.

Tor Wennesland, the UN’s special envoy for the Middle East peace process, wrote on Twitter that he was “horrified” by the shooting and sent “his heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family”. He called for a full investigation and said those responsible must be held accountable.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon accused the envoy of distorting reality.

“This incident is a terrorist attack, in which an Israeli policeman was stabbed in the face and another policeman’s life was threatened and as a result he shot his attacker,” Nahshon wrote on Twitter.

On Saturday, shops along Hawara’s main road were closed in protest at the shooting.

A makeshift memorial marked the spot where Adili died, consisting of a Palestinian flag on a short pole and a death poster leaning on it. The poster, with a picture of Adili, said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party was mourning his son “who was killed at the hands of the Zionist occupation”.

The video of Adili’s final moments was rare documentation of one of the increasingly common violent incidents involving Israeli security forces and Palestinians, including the attackers.

Rising Israeli-Palestinian tensions have made 2022 the deadliest year in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the long-running conflict since 2006. Further escalation is likely as the more right-wing and religious government of Israel’s history is set to be installed in the coming weeks, with the return to power of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

More than 140 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli-Palestinian fighting this year. The Israeli army says most of the Palestinians killed were militants. But young stone throwers protesting the Israeli army incursions and others not involved in the clashes were also killed.

Friday’s deadly shooting came amid months of Israeli raids in the West Bank, sparked by a series of Palestinian attacks on Israelis in the spring that killed 19 people. The military says the raids are intended to dismantle militant networks and thwart future attacks, but Palestinians say they are entrenching Israel’s indefinite occupation, now in its 56th year. A recent wave of Palestinian attacks on Israeli targets killed nine more people.

Akram reported from Hamilton, Ontario.

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