Israeli security guards on Monday shot and wounded a Palestinian who is deaf and couldn’t hear their commands to stop at a West Bank checkpoint, police said.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the 60-year-old man was walking in an area of the Kalandia Crossing north of Jerusalem where only vehicles are permitted. Rosenfeld said security guards called upon the man to stop but he continued to “approach them suspiciously.”
Israeli forces shoot deaf Palestinian
Israeli forces shot and injured the deaf Palestinian at a military checkpoint in Jerusalem on Monday, according to the Israeli police.
In a statement, the police said a 60-year-old Palestinian did not heed orders to stop, prompting soldiers to shoot him at the Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah city.
Eyewitnesses earlier said that a Palestinian was shot in the leg by Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint.
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Halaq had been killed while walking to his school
Iyad Halaq, 32, was killed on Saturday in occupied East Jerusalem while he walked to his special needs school.
Israel’s police force said officers suspected Mr Halaq was carrying a weapon and that they opened fire when he failed to obey orders to stop. He was later found to have been unarmed and had run because his mental state terrified him of strangers.
Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz expressed regret over the shooting.
“We are sorry about the incident in which Iyad Halaq was shot, and we of course share in the grief of his family. I am sure this issue will be quickly investigated and conclusions will be drawn,” he told a cabinet meeting on Sunday.
Mr Gantz added that Israeli security forces would “make every effort to use necessary force with the intention of reducing casualties as much as possible”.
Tensions high after Netanyahu plans to annex West Bank
Tensions have risen in recent weeks after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would press ahead with a plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
The Palestinian Authority has responded by saying it is no longer bound by agreements with Israel and the United States – which backs Israel keeping part of the West Bank – including those relating to security.
Iyad Halaq would walk every day from his home in Jerusalem’s Wadi al-Joz area to the Old City to go to the Elwyn El Quds centre, which provides services for children and adults with disabilities.
“He didn’t know what a police officer is,” Dr Awiwi told Israel’s Haaretz newspaper. “He saw a stranger and fled, and then they shot him.”
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An Israeli police statement said units on patrol in the Old City “spotted a suspect with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol”.
“They called upon him to stop and began to chase after him on foot. During the chase, officers also opened fire at the suspect, who was neutralised,” it added. “No weapon was found at the scene after the area was searched.”
Mr Halaq’s cousin, Dr Hatem Awiwi, said he was on the low-functioning end of the autism spectrum and that he had trouble communicating with people.
The shooting sparked great criticism and calls for police to amend their open fire guidelines to take into consideration those with disabilities.
Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups have long accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force in some cases.
Heba Yazbak, and Arab lawmaker, said Monday’s incident exposed trigger-happy Israeli forces.
“First they shot and then they check,” she said. “The shooting of an innocent deaf Palestinian is just another example of the ease in which Israeli security forces can harm human life.”
Anadolu with additional input by GVS News Desk