By Dallas Steele
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
EAST JERUSALEM, Israel — As tensions remain at an unprecedented high, Israeli border police officers have shot and killed a Palestinian driver who may have intentionally hit two border police officers with his motor vehicle on Friday. The incident began when the driver, forty-0ne-year-old Ziad al-Jolani, rammed his Mitsubishi van into two border police officers. It remains unclear whether al-Jolani intended to injure the two officers or whether the entire incident was an accident.
Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman, said that after al-Jolani struck the two officers with his van, one of the officers fired warning shots in the air and called for the driver to stop his vehicle. As the driver ignored the border police officers’ request by driving away, the officers began to give chase to al-Jolani. Al-Jolani got out of his van in an attempt to flee by foot while the border police officers continued to call for the driver to cease and desist. After continuing to ignore the demand to halt, a border guard shot al-Jolani dead.
Palestinian witnesses have given a similar account as Rosenfeld, but have made the claim that the Israeli police officers began to fire indiscriminately in al-Jolani’s direction, causing not only his death, but the serious injury of a young woman as well.
Conflicting reports have been made on the injury of the passenger in al-Jolani’s van, Mahmoud al-Jolani, as some reports have stated he was injured during the incident and others saying he was injured earlier that day in a stone-throwing incident.
The killing has come at an extreme low point in Palestinian-Israeli relations. The checkpoint where the shooting occurred was located in the neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz, an area predominantly inhabited by Palestinians, but became part of Israeli territory after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Additionally, Israeli police had just recently announced a limited-access policy for Palestinian men under the age of forty travelling from East Jerusalem to the al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers. This move was made in response to the heightened tensions in the region following last month’s clash between Israel’s commando raid on a Turkish ship bound for Gaza that left nine activists dead.
For more information, please see:
Al Jazeera — Israeli police kill Palestinian man — 11 June 2010
CNN — Palestinian driver shot dead after striking Israeli border guards — 11 June 2010
NY Times — Police kill Palestinian driver in East Jerusalem — 11 June 2010