Israeli police are refusing to make public the video showing the attempted knife attack by a brother and sister in which the pair were shot dead at the Qalandiyah checkpoint in north Jerusalem on Wednesday, April 27.
According to the police, the two, Maram Abu Ismayil, 23, and her brother Ibrahim Salah Tahah, 16, were acting suspiciously and did not heed calls by police to halt. Maram Abu Ismayil allegedly pulled out a knife and threw it at officers. Later two knives were also found on Tahah’s body. However, according to Palestinian witnesses, the siblings were far away from the police, constituted no threat, and did not understand the calls for them in Hebrew to halt.
According to Haaretz, the Jerusalem Police said the video, if indeed there is one, could not be made public because the incident was under investigation. However Haaretz checked and found that in a number of cases in the past the Police Spokesman’s Office had itself made public videos of similar incidences, even adding captions to explain what was happening and justifying the police actions. The police version of events does not conform to that of Palestinian eye witnesses. Ahmed, a bus driver, told the Palestinian news agency Ma’an that the policeman fired at Abu Ismayil from a distance of 20 meters and the pair did not constitute a threat when they were shot. The Palestinians also said first aid teams at the scene were not allowed to approach the two.
Photos taken at the scene show the two lying in the middle of the road, some distance from the checkpoint where police and security guards usually do not stand. People very familiar with the checkpoint said the spot where the siblings collapsed after being shot was about 15 meters from the security blockade before the checkpoint.
Hadash MK Dov Khenin (Joint List) demanded on Thursday that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan launch an immediate investigation and release the videos the army has. Khenin said that as the pair walked toward the vehicle lane, they did not understand the orders in Hebrew to stop, and Tahah was holding his sister’s hand to lead her to the correct lane when they were shot, “with the police about 20 meters away behind concrete blocks.” After Abu Ismayil was shot, her brother knelt to help her and then he was shot as well, Khenin said eye-witnesses had reported, adding that “the police were in no danger whatsoever.”
MK Khenin called on the department in the Justice Ministry that investigates police misconduct to launch an investigation and “to release the videos and any other material that exists from the scene. We cannot accept that people are shot to death in broad daylight based only on a suspicion,” he said.