At about 7:30 pm on Friday, October 18, 2019, 25-year-old Ra’d al-Bahri from the village of Zibad, which lies southeast of Tulkarm in the Palestinian occupied territories, drove to the Tulkarm / Al-Kafriyat (Te’enim) checkpoint, where he met a cousin from Israel and transferred olive tins to her car. Al-Bahri’s cousin, Manal M., 63, a homemaker and married mother of five from the town of Taybeh in Israel, arrived at the checkpoint with her husband to collect the olives from al-Bahri. The couple parked their car in the Israel-bound lane. A few minutes later, al-Bahri arrived with the olives, quickly put them in the couple’s car and they drove off.
After his cousin’s departure, Al-Bahri walked in the direction of the checkpoint, which was staffed by security guards from the Land Crossings Authority of the Israeli Defense Ministry. He continued walking towards the checkpoint despite warnings from a Palestinian who was nearby and calls to stop, in both Hebrew and Arabic, shouted by one of the guards standing behind a concrete block. This guard fired two warning shots in the air when al-Bahri didn’t stop approaching. When the al-Bahri was only a few meters from the guard, the latter fired at the Palestinian’s legs. Al-Bahri collapsed and, as he attempted to get up, other guards fired another eight to ten rounds at the wounded man, killing him.
Shortly after the incident, Israel’s Defense Ministry published a statement claiming that al-Bahri had run toward the checkpoint wielding a knife. Whether or not he was carrying a knife and whether or not he tried to get up, the choice of armed, well-protected guards to open lethal fire at al-Bahri as he lay on the ground was unlawful and immoral. It is hard to believe that the large number of guards on the scene did not have less injurious means at their disposal to handle the situation.
Grave as this incident may be, it is not exceptional. Since October 2015, Israeli security personnel have used lethal firepower as virtually the only means of response to attacks or alleged attacks by Palestinians. Unless this policy changes, they will continue to open live fire at Palestinians even when the latter do not present a lethal danger.
Related: Full report by B’Tselem