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Apartheid microcosm: Israeli settler runs over and kills Palestinian child

On Sunday, 5-year-old Palestinian girl Einas Khalil was killed after being hit by an Israeli settler-driven car near the central West Bank town of Sinjil. Another child was injured. An Arabic language TV report with the bereaved family can be viewed here (and an English language summary here).

The incident prompted the following post by John Brown, the pseudonym of an Israeli academic and blogger, and translated by Sol Salbe:

On 26 July this year, Raed al Jabari, a 35-year-old a Palestinian father of five, was driving on Route 60. It appears as if he fell asleep at the wheel (having earlier taken painkillers). Near the Gush Etzion Junction he hit a woman standing on the road. The woman was slightly injured. Immediately afterwards he veered sharply back onto the road, and at the next junction turned himself to an IDF unit. There he explained what is outlined above.

Al Jabri was immediately arrested and taken to the Ofer military detention centre. He was brought to the military court within the complex, where in light of these facts, the military judge released him on a NIS 8000 bail, having decided that he was not dangerous and his action wasn’t a deliberate terrorist act. But those were the days of Operation Protective Edge, and under the cover of the fighting in Gaza, the IDF greatly intensified repression on the West Bank. Without any additional evidence the Military Advocate-General decided not to release him and Al Jabari became a “security prisoner”.

On September 9, he was transferred to the Eshel Prison in Beersheba, in flagrant violation of international law prohibiting the imprisonment of residents of a militarily occupied area outside the occupation zone. According to witness accounts, he refused to get out of the vehicle, but was beaten and eventually got out. A few hours later the Israeli Prison Service (IPS) claimed that he has been found hanged in his cell. His family wasn’t informed of anything, and only after the case was reported in the media and rumours began to reach them, they contacted the IPS which at first claimed that they knew nothing of the matter, and then confirmed the details. The popular News portal Walla! reported: “the prisoner who committed suicide, a 37-year-old Palestinian from Hebron, was arrested two months ago during Operation Brother’s Keeper on suspicion of security offences.”

The finding of the Israeli Pathology’s autopsy report have not been published to this date. The Palestinian doctor who was present has been prevented by the court from publishing the results. He did, nevertheless, recommend an additional Palestinian autopsy. But I have been unable to get hold of even those results. However, following the autopsy, the Palestinian Minister for Prisoners was able to announce that there were no signs hanging on the body but on the other hand there were signs of violence.

I don’t know which of the accounts is the accurate one, and for our purpose it does not matter. Either way this is a stuff-up by the IPS which followed a criminal abuse by the military regime of a person about whom it reasonable to assume that his crime was of a minor traffic accident, and that his death would be whitewashed using the usual means.

This afternoon [Sunday 19 October] on the same road near the village of Sinjil, a settler from Yitzhar settlement ran over and killed 5-year-old Inas Shawkat Dar Khalil and fatally wounding 4-year-old Omar Asfour. He ran away and didn’t summon help. When he arrived at the major settlement of Ofra he called the police.

The settler responsible for killing of a child and fatally wounding another, wasn’t arrested, he wasn’t not taken to a military detention centre, he wasn’t tried without evidence, he wasn’t beaten up, he wasn’t taken away from his family, and didn’t become a security prisoner. A Palestinian who slightly hit a woman had to endure all of these, and was killed because of them. If this is not Apartheid, I don’t know what is.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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