Seventeen years after 13 unarmed Palestinian protesters were killed in demonstrations at the start of the Second Intifada, Israeli police continue "to have very light trigger fingers when it comes to Arab suspects", the head of a legal rights NGO has claimed.
In a statement issued yesterday, Hassan Jabareen, founder and general director of Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, connected the October 2000 killings to ongoing instances of police brutality, up to and including lethal violence, experienced by Israel's Palestinian citizens.
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
Thirteen Palestinians – 12 citizens of Israel and one Gaza resident – were shot and killed by Israeli police in October 2000 protests, and hundreds more were wounded. A subsequent government report, the Or Commission, concluded there was no real threat to the police officers who opened fire.
Despite such conclusions, the Justice Ministry's Police Investigations Department decided not to pursue any indictments, and in January 2008, the Attorney General also closed the investigation files into the October 2000 killings.
To date, not a single Israeli police officer or official has been indicted for the 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."
He continued: "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 lack of serious investigations by the Justice Ministry grants "a de facto green light to continued police violence against – and even killings of – Arab citizens," Jabareen concluded.