MK Odeh Demands Independent Inquiry into Umm al-Hiran Death

The Knesset became the scene of an explosive debate on Wednesday afternoon, March 8, the second such one for the same day, this time over the deadly incident on January 18 in which an Arab-Bedouin man, Yaqoub Abu al-Qee’an, was shot to death by police after they initially claimed he had deliberately tried to run them over during the demolition of “illegal homes” in Umm al-Hiran. Joint List leader MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) set the tone of the discussion when he addressed the Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, saying “at the very least we’re entitled to your, resignation as the Minister of Internal Security.” Odeh was among those who were injured by police in the Arab-Bedouin village during the same incident.

Campaign: "Erdan Resign!"

Campaign: “Erdan Resign!”

Odeh’s then made a proposal to establish a parliamentary committee that would investigate the conduct of police and officials. His proposal was  rejected. The incendiary debate came just hours after the Knesset had approved the preliminary reading of two versions of a racist bill to limit decibel levels for loudspeakers operated by religious institutions, known as the “Muezzin Bill.” Odeh said, ”If anyone thinks that the Arab population will be satisfied by stuttered, half-hearted apologies [for the killing of Abu al-Qee’an] he is gravely mistaken. After the [government’s] mountain of deceit and incitement has crumbled, all that is left are two families whose world has been destroyed. The minimum they deserve is the truth, and that is also the obligation of every person sitting here today.”

Odeh demanded that an independent investigation be launched in order to answer fundamental questions surrounding the incident. “We demand to know who decided to violently evacuate the village while negotiations were still taking place; who decided to do it at night; who shot and killed Yaqoub Abu al-Qee’an; who gave the order to let him bleed to death without medical aid; who decided to incite against him and the residents of Umm al-Hiran?”