Israel’s Ministry of Justice Police Investigations Division (PID) decided last week to close its probe into the killing by police of Yaqoub Abu al-Qee’an in January 2017 and to not hold any officers responsible for his death; this despite the PID’s knowledge of new evidence reportedly linked to the shots that killed Abu Al-Qee’an and a sponge-tipped bullet that injured Hadash MK Ayman Odeh, leader of the Joint List parliamentary bloc, during protests against home demolitions in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev.
Abu al-Qee’an, a 47 year old teacher of math and science from in the Arab-Bedouin community of Atir-Umm al-Hiran was killed on 18 January 2017 after Israeli police opened fire on his vehicle as he was driving through the village while a contingent of state agency personnel accompanied by a heavily-armed force of police was making preparations for large-scale home demolitions at the site. On the same day of the deadly shooting, Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, filed a request demanding that the PID open an investigation into the killing.
In response to the PID’s decision to close that same investigation last week, Adalah issued a statement in which it said: “The closure of this investigation means the PID continues to grant legitimacy to deadly police violence against Arab citizens of Israel. Though it was clear from day one that officers opened fire on a civilian without justification and in contravention of the police’s own regulations governing opening of fire, it appears as if the PID is again whitewashing this most serious incident. Just as the PID failed to hold any officers responsible for the October 2000 killings and the subsequent police killings of more than 50 Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, this latest decision is further indication of the systemic failure of the PID.”
“In addition, despite Adalah’s repeated requests, the PID has yet to provide the widow of Abu al-Qee’an with her late husband’s autopsy report and has ignored her requests to receive updates on developments in the investigation. We call upon the Israeli state attorney to immediately bring to justice those responsible for the killing of Yaqoub Abu al-Qee’an.”