17 years after October 2000 killings, Israeli police still kill Arab citizens with impunity

Adalah: Israeli police killing of 13 Palestinian protesters in 2000 was motivated by racism; in 2017, Justice Ministry PID continues to whitewash investigations of police killings of Arab citizens.

Hassan Jabareen, founder and general director of Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, issued a statement today (3 October 2017) drawing a direct connection between the Israeli police killings of 13 Palestinians in October 2000 and the ongoing police killings of Arab citizens in Israel today.

 

In October 2000, Israeli police and special police sniper units killed 13 unarmed Palestinians (12 citizens of Israel and one Gaza resident) and wounded hundreds more when Palestinian citizens of Israel staged mass demonstrations throughout the country to protest Israel's oppressive policies against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory at the beginning of the Second Intifada.

 

The dead and wounded were hit by live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets (“rubber bullets”), and tear gas fired by Israeli police officers. Israeli Jewish citizens also attacked Palestinian citizens of Israel, their property, and their holy sites in early October 2000. About 660 Palestinian citizens of Israel were arrested in connection with these events, and hundreds, including scores of minors, were indicted and detained without bond until the end of trial.

 

[CLICK HERE to learn more about the October 2000 killings]

 

"The October 2000 killings were rooted in deep-seated racism against the minority Palestinian population. Israeli police used deadly force against Arab demonstrators although they did not carry or use firearms. The police's lethal response was unjustified," Jabareen said.

 

In its report issued in 2003, the Or Commission charged with investigating the incident found that there was no real threat posed to police officers and thus no justification for the live gunfire that led to the killings of the 13 Palestinians. The commission also determined that the firing of rubber-coated steel bullets, which produced fatal results, was contrary to police regulations.

 

However, not a single Israeli police officer or official has been indicted for the killings.

 

In a heavily-criticized report issued in September 2005, the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department (PID) decided not to pursue any indictments. In January 2008, the Attorney General also closed the investigation files into the October 2000 killings.

 

"Today, in 2017, the Israeli police continue to have very light trigger fingers when it comes to Arab suspects," Jabareen said. "And the Justice Ministry continues to whitewash investigations of police killings of Arab citizens. There are strong suspicions that Israeli officers violated the police's open-fire regulations and used deadly force without any justification in a series of recent cases. The PID does not investigate these cases in a professional or serious manner, thus granting a de facto green light to continued police violence against – and even killings of – Arab citizens."