Following new allegations by top official, Adalah demands the re-opening of the investigation into the police killing of Ya’akub Abu al-Qi’an

In an Israeli TV interview, former Deputy Chief of the Police Investigation Department (PID), Moshe Saada, revealed that the former Police Commissioner and State Attorney pressured the PID to close the probe into the 2017 killing of Abu al-Qi’an in Umm Al-Hiran. Saada’s account affirms Adalah’s arguments of systemic obstruction of justice and conflict of interest within the law enforcement system

Following a media interview aired yesterday (25 July 2022) in Israeli TV Channel 12 with the former Deputy Chief of the Police Investigation Department (PID) Moshe Saada, Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel sent a letter today to the Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara, the State Attorney Amit Isman, and the Chief of the PID Keren Ben-Menahem, demanding that the PID re-open an investigation into the 2017 police killing of Ya’akub Abu al-Qi’an, a 50 year-old Bedouin math teacher, in his village of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab (Negev).  Adalah emphasized that Saada must be summoned to testify, and the state must pursue criminal charges concerning these events.


              CLICK HERE to read Adalah’s letter [Hebrew]


In October 2021, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition filed by Adalah and the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) on behalf of the family of Ya’akub Abu al-Qi’an. The petitioners demanded that the Court reject the decision of former-State Attorney Shai Nitzan to close the PID probe into the killing of Abu al-Qi’an, and to re-open the investigation and to criminally indict all of those responsible for his killing.


In the interview, Saada revealed that former Police Commissioner Roni Elsheich pressured him to close the probe into the killing. Saada described a conversation whereby the commissioner told him: “‘Moshe, you are not a patriot, do you know how you will harm the State of Israel in the world?’” Saada described a flawed probe, with extreme pressure from public figures, and whereby key evidence presented to police officers was ignored.


In the letter, Adalah Attorneys Dr. Hassan Jabareen and Adi Mansour argued that the information emerging from Saada’s interview reinforces Adalah’s deep suspicions of a structural conflict of interest within the State Attorney's Office that led to an unreasonable decision to close the probe into the killing, and that this new evidence justifies the re-opening of a criminal investigation into the events. Adalah also emphasized that the PID’s preliminary probe disclosed evidence in the case that raises suspicions of serious criminal acts.


Adalah stated:


"There is no clearer case than that of Abu Al-Qi’an to illustrate the systematic impunity afforded to Israel’s police forces for the killing of Palestinians. An innocent citizen was shot by police and left to bleed to death without anyone being held accountable. Now statements by the former Deputy Chief of the Police Investigation Department (PID) reinforce what Adalah has been saying for years: that the PID and the State Attorney's Office have a conflict of interest and are implementing a well-established policy of sweeping immunity when Palestinians are killed or injured by Israeli police or military."




Israeli police shot and killed Abu al-Qi’an, a 50-year-old Bedouin math teacher, during a large-scale, heavily-militarized home demolition operation in his village of Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab (Negev) in January 2017. Israeli officials initially described the incident as a terror attack, and claimed that 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 numerous 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 PID 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 Israeli TV Channel 12 reporter Amit Segal suggesting that the former State Attorney Shai Nitzan had allegedly suppressed evidence that would have defied the assertion that Abu al-Qi’an had engaged in a terror act, then-Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized for the false accusation.


The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz revealed in a letter to the PID 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.


Related Press Releases:


Israeli Supreme Court rejects petition by Abu al-Qi’an family to reopen investigation into unlawful police killing in Umm al-Hiran 21 October 2021


Adalah, PCATI demand urgent Israeli Supreme Court hearing on petition seeking reversal of state attorney’s decision to close probe into police killing of Bedouin math teacher 14 September 2020


In wake of Haaretz expose on Umm al-Hiran police killing, Adalah sends urgent demands to AG 12 June 2018


Closure of probe into Umm al-Hiran killing: Green light to continued deadly police violence against Arab citizens 28 December 2017


Adalah: Israel must bring to justice parties responsible for killing Umm al-Hiran man 23 February 2017


Supreme Court accepts Adalah petition, orders police to release body of Ya'akub Abu Al-Qi'an for burial 24 January 2017


Despite media leak, Israeli forensic center hasn't given autopsy report to widow of Bedouin man killed by police 23 January 2017


Israeli police video reveals cops opened fire on Bedouin man before his car accelerated, contradicting police claims 19 January 2017