Israeli Supreme Court rejects petition by Abu al-Qi’an family to reopen investigation into unlawful police killing in Umm al-Hiran

The petition, filed by Adalah and PCATI, followed the former State Attorney’s decision to close the probe into the police killing of Ya’akub Abu al-Qi’an, a 50-year-old math teacher, from the Palestinian Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab.

Following the court’s decision, Adalah issued the below statement:


“This ruling demonstrates how little the lives of Palestinian citizens of Israel matter in the State of Israel. Even when presented with clear evidence of the unlawful police shooting of Ya’akub Abu al-Qi’an, who then bled to death as officers prevented an ambulance from reaching him, the Israeli Supreme Court decided not to order the State Attorney’s Office to reopen the investigation. In doing so, the Court reveals itself - yet again - as part of the larger Israeli system of shielding police officers and military personnel from accountability for the killing of Palestinians and denying justice to their families. The Court continues to refuse to intervene in decisions of the State Attorney or the Attorney General even when these decisions to close files against the police for the killing of Palestinians are extremely unreasonable, as evident in this case. The police killing of Abu al-Qian was a result of a heavily-militarized police action in 2017 to forcibly expel Palestinian Bedouins from their homes and land in the village of Umm al-Hiran in order to establish the Jewish settlement of “Hiran” on the ruins of the village. The killing, the forced displacement, and the cover-up all point to the fact that the Israeli police continues to view Palestinian citizens as enemies. We demand an independent investigation of all levels of the law enforcement system in this case and others.”


CLICK HERE to read the decision [Hebrew]



Israeli police shot and killed Abu al-Qi’an, a 50-year-old Bedouin math teacher, during a large-scale, heavily-militarized operation to demolish homes in his village Umm al-Hiran in January 2017. Officials initially described the incident as a terror attack, and claimed Abu al-Qi’an killed police officer Erez Levi in a vehicle-ramming attack and also suggested that Abu al-Qi’an had links to the Islamic State. Adalah, along with eyewitnesses and other human rights organizations, immediately countered that false information.


An independent investigation by Forensic Architecture (FA), a research agency based at Goldsmiths University of London, concluded that Abu al-Qi’an was shot by police before his car accelerated into the nearby crowd, contrary to the claims of senior Israeli police and politicians, and that Abu al-Qi’an was denied medical attention while he was bleeding to death. Adalah and PCATI submitted FA’s analysis of the evidence from the internal police investigation file, which demonstrates inconsistencies in the police officers’ testimonies and indicates that the unlawful shooting brought about al-Qian’s death.


In September 2020, following a report by Channel 12 reporter Amit Segal suggesting that the former State Attorney Shai Nitzan had allegedly suppressed evidence that would have challenged the assertion that Abu al-Qi’an was a terrorist, then-Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized for the false accusation.


Days later, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz revealed in a letter to the Police Investigation Department (PID) or “Mahash” in November 2017, the General Security Service (GSS) had in fact ruled out the possibility of a vehicle-ramming attack. This position stood in stark contrast to Nitzan’s stated justifications for closing the investigation: that it was not possible to determine whether or not Abu al-Qi’an had intentionally hit the Israeli police officer.

CLICK HERE for more information on the petition