Palestinian killed during alleged car attack

Israeli soldiers shot and killed a Palestinian man on Wednesday at bus stop near the Gush Etzion junction in the southern occupied West Bank, the site of several deadly incidents over the past year and a half.

The military claims that Suhaib Moussa Mashour Mashahra, 21, from the Jerusalem-area village of al-Sawahira, was shot during the course of a car ramming attack that left an Israeli man with light-to-moderate injuries.

“The military said it was certain the car-ramming was an attack, based on military footage of the incident and the fact that a knife was found inside the car. The army however refused to release the footage,” the Tel Aviv daily Haaretz reported.

Israeli media outlets published a photo purporting to show a knife found in Mashahra’s car.

Other photos from the scene show the front of Mashahra’s car smashed up against the back of a bus, and Mashahra lying on the ground, his face covered with blood, as a soldier examines him.

Mashahra was taken to an Israeli hospital in Jerusalem in critical condition and was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, an Israeli army spokesperson told media.

A photo of Mashahra circulated on social media after his death was announced:

Numerous human rights groups, a United Nations human rights investigator, and the US State Department and American lawmakers have all raised concerns about Israel’s reflexive use of deadly force against alleged Palestinian attackers over the past year and a half. Amnesty International stated last September that several such cases should be investigated as possible extrajudicial executions.

Call for settlement expansion

Such deadly incidents have occurred at checkpoints and settlements throughout the West Bank, where for decades Israel has imposed a belligerent military occupation to expand its settler-colonial enterprise and brutally stamp out Palestinian resistance to it.

The head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, a body representing the settlement bloc, stated on Wednesday: “I wish a quick recovery to the wounded and call on the government to strengthen the settlements and promote its construction with all its might.”

Israeli settlements in the West Bank are illegal under international law. The Fourth Geneva Convention forbids an occupying power from transferring its civilian population to the territory it occupies. Settlement expansion is therefore a war crime.

Mashahra is the 18th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli soldiers and armed civilians so far this year. Six Israelis have been killed by Palestinians in 2017, all but one during car ramming attacks.

Hannah Bladon, a 21-year-old British woman studying at an Israeli university, was fatally stabbed by a Palestinian man in a light rail car near the Old City of Jerusalem on Friday. The assailant, Jamil Tamimi, 57, was arrested at the scene.

Jerusalem stabbing

The Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency, told media that Tamimi had recently been released from a psychiatric hospital, where he had tried to commit suicide by swallowing a razor blade, and that he was convicted of molesting his daughter in 2011.

“This is yet another case of a Palestinian suffering from personal, mental or moral distress choosing to commit an act of terror to escape his problems,” the Shin Bet stated.

Israel guards at the site of a deadly stabbing of a British woman in Jerusalem on 14 April.

Faiz Abu Rmeleh ActiveStills

Israel’s Channel 2 reported that Tamimi told investigators that he attacked Bladon “because he wanted to die and hoped the soldier who was standing next to her on the train would kill him.”

Police told media Tamimi was on his way home from the hospital when he stabbed Bladon.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu characterized the incident as “radical Islamic terrorism.”

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Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.