Umm al-Hiran man killed after police open fire during violent demolition operation in Bedouin village

Adalah: Israeli courts, gov't responsible for death of 50 year old; residents refute police claims of attack; eyewitnesses confirm Ya'akub Musa Abu Al-Qi'an lost control of car after police fired at him.

Israeli police killed a 50-year-old local teacher this morning (Wed. 18 January 2017) and wounded local residents and a Knesset member during a violent incursion into Atir-Umm al-Hiran aimed at demolishing a central section of the Naqab (Negev) Bedouin village. One police officer was also killed during the incident.


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Adalah, which represented the Bedouin residents of Atir–Umm al-Hiran in legal proceedings over the past 13 years to stop the village's demolition responded to the events of this morning that: "The Israeli judiciary and the government are responsible for the killing in the village today. The Israeli Supreme Court's decision to allow the state to proceed with its plan to demolish  the village, which has existed for 60 years, in order to establish a Jewish town called 'Hiran' over its ruins, is one of the most racist judgments  that the Court has ever issued. The Israeli government and its leaders then took advantage of this court decision to continue its home demolition policy against Arab communities. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials regularly praise the use of state violence against Arab citizens, such as that used today in Atir–Umm al-Hiran and in Qalansawa last week, where demolitions also took place. Furthermore, the Israeli police proved yet again today that it perceives Arab citizens as an enemy. The police are light on the trigger when it comes to Arab citizens, and too many times the police who have fired weapons and killed have received immunity from Mahash (the Police Investigation Unit)."


Israeli bulldozers demolishing homes in Atir-Umm al-Hiran (Courtesy of All That’s Left Collective)


The Israeli police claimed that they fired at 50-year-old Ya'akub Musa Abu Al-Qi'an due to a "car-ramming attack" that killed a police officer. This claim has been strongly refuted by villagers and activists who witnessed the incident. Eyewitnesses have confirmed that Abu Al-Qi'an was trying to leave the village and lost control of his car only after police fired at him.


MK Ayman Odeh (Joint List) was also wounded by police officers and was evacuated to a regional hospital along with other wounded residents.


MK Ayman Odeh wounded by police this morning in Atir-Umm al-Hiran (Courtesy of MK Odeh’s office)


In response to the police statement, Adalah emphasized: "This statement reflects the Israeli police's culture of lying. A few weeks ago, the Israeli police also accused Arab citizens of the state of launching arson attacks, which has not been proven at all. Not one person has been convicted based on these accusations. The Or Commission of Inquiry condemned this culture of lying in 2003, when they stated that the Israeli police regard Arab citizens as an enemy and that they were trigger-prone towards Arab citizens."


Israeli police forces on the roof of a home in Atir-Umm al-Hiran (Courtesy of All That’s Left Collective)


The families of the Abu Al-Qi'an tribe, who currently live in Atir-Umm al-Hiran, were initially expelled from their lands in Khirbet Zubaleh in 1948, which they had cultivated for generations. Eventually during the 1950s, the Israeli military governor ordered them to move to their current lands to establish their village. Despite this, the state has not legally recognized the village to this day. As a result of the decision to establish the Israeli Jewish town of Hiran over the Bedouin village, the Israel Land Authority (ILA) demanded to expel them again, to the government-planned town of Hura.


Women in Atir-Umm al-Hiran sit in front of a house as the demolition operation gets underway. (Courtesy of All That’s Left Collective)


CLICK HERE for Adalah’s special report #Save_UmAlHiran