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Israel drops murder case against settler who killed Palestinian

August 26, 2022 at 3:44 pm

Family of Ali Hassan Harb mourn his death after a settler stabbed him to death [ajplus/Twitter]

Israel’s State Prosecutor has closed the case of an Israeli settler who stabbed a 27-year-old Palestinian to death in Salfit in the occupied West Bank.

In a statement released yesterday, it claimed that “after reviewing evidence in the case, including statements from those involved in the incident … the decision was made to close the case since the claim of self-defence could not be ruled out.”

The group of settlers who killed Ali Hassan Harb, was attacking the family’s land which is adjacent to the Israeli settlement of Ariel, and were dislodging a wooden house the family had built there.

Ali’s death was investigated by both Israel’s domestic spy agency, Shin Bet, and Israel Police’s Nationalist Crimes Unit.

“Even if the court decided to close the case, we will go to the Supreme Court, and then we will go to the International Criminal Court,” the victim’s uncle, Naim Harb, told Al Jazeera.

“We will keep going until the last sliver of hope, until the last breath, until this killer and this government are punished – we will not leave them alone.”

READ: Family members of Palestinian murdered by Israeli settler arrested by Shin Bet

​​The punishment issued to the Israeli settlers and soldiers is far more lenient than those handed down to Palestinians, including minors convicted of throwing stones. Even if no harm or damage is caused, they face penalties of up to 20 years in prison.

Israeli human rights group, Yesh Din, representing the Harb family, criticised the decision to close the case, saying the investigation “was done in two months, with scare tactics and threats against both the family and witnesses. The suspect’s version of events contradicts statements given from witnesses.”

Ali was pronounced dead when he arrived at the Martyr Yasser Arafat Hospital in Salfit, the Health Ministry said.

Moreover, eyewitnesses were quoted by Wafa news agency, as saying that Israeli occupation soldiers in the area had “protected the settlers and prevented Palestinians from tending to Harb for one hour, causing him to bleed to death.”

Ahmad Harb, who dragged his cousin’s body away from the scene, said, “The army, the settlement guards, the police, they were all there. They watched while he was stabbed and then prevented us from reaching him for 20 minutes,” said Ahmad.

Settler attacks on Palestinian properties have increased in recent years, with occupation forces protecting the attackers and arresting Palestinians who protect their land.

READ: UK condemns killing of Palestinian by Israeli settler