New video deals another blow to Israeli police version of Umm al-Hiran raid
Last month as Israel tried to evict its Arab citizens from the village of Umm Al-Hiran in the Negev, they said that they had killed a “terrorist” (actually a local teacher) who tried to ram them with a car, killing one officer.
Palestinian witnesses told a different story, and now video has emerged that shows they were right. This incident (and the demolition of the village to make way for a Jewish-only settlement) sparked enormous outrage inside Israel among Palestinians, resulting in a day of general strike.
Last week Musa Abu al-Qi’an, 100-year-old resident of Umm Al-Hiran and father of the killed teacher who was featured in many news stories, passed away. He survived the Nakba and everything before and since, but did not survive the death of his son.
Ma’an News Agency, 12 Feb 2017
NEGEV (Ma‘an) 12 Feb — A new video broadcast by Israeli Channel 10 on Saturday further weakened Israel police claims regarding a deadly January raid in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev desert, showing that Israeli forces shot at a Bedouin man’s vehicle when he did not constitute a threat.
The video showed Israeli officers opening fire at the car of Umm al-Hiran resident Yaqoub Abu al-Qi‘an on Jan. 18, as he was slowly driving past with his headlights on, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and hit police officer Erez Levi.
Both Abu al-Qi‘an and Levi were killed in the incident.
The Channel 10 report added that Umm al-Hiran residents were still calling for an official investigation to the case, particularly regarding their assertions that Levi had in fact been killed by friendly fire.
Israeli police reportedly said after the broadcast that an investigation was underway over the fact that police officers did not provide Abu al-Qi‘an medical assistance, leaving him to bleed to death.
The Channel 10 video is the third filmed record of the Umm al-Hiran raid to undermine the official Israeli version of events, with Al Jazeera notably releasing footage earlier this month.
Israeli police had originally claimed that Abu al-Qi‘an had deliberately carried out a car-ramming attack, and that his headlights had been off while he was driving near the Israeli forces evacuating Umm al-Hiran in the early morning hours.
Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that during a raid of the slain Palestinian’s home, police found three copies of a Hebrew-language newspaper from 2015 with the headline: “ISIS bomb that took down a plane,” suggesting that the old newspapers were evidence that the man carried out a terror attack.
However, according to Haaretz, the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, reported two weeks after the incident that they had yet to find any evidence connecting Abu al-Qi‘an to ISIS.
The Joint List, which represents parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, were quick to accuse Israeli police of spreading misinformation on Israeli media following the incident.
In a statement released by the Joint List at the time, the group argued that Israeli police lied in their claims in order to distract from Israel’s campaign to establish Jewish-only towns “on the ruins of Bedouin villages.”
Umm al-Hiran is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Israeli state, with more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins residing in unrecognized villages.
The unrecognized Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel. Now more than 60 years later, the villages have yet to be recognized by Israel and live under constant threats of demolition and forcible removal.
The Joint List has described the actions by Israeli authorities as “a terrorist and bloody invasion that brings to mind the scenes of displacement and destruction of Arab villages during the Nakba in 1948.” Some 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced during the creation of the state of Israel in what Palestinians call the Nakba — “catastrophe” in Arabic.