Israeli occupation police shoot Palestinian attacker after Jerusalem stabbing

AP , Saturday 4 Dec 2021

Israeli occupation police shot a Palestinian after he stabbed and wounded an ultra-Orthodox Jew on Saturday near Damascus Gate just outside Jerusalem's Old City, a crowded area that is often the scene of demonstrations and clashes.

Israeli police men
Israeli police men and paramedics carry the body of a man shot near Damascus Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, Saturday, Dec. 4, 2021. AP

Video circulated online appeared to show an Israeli Border Police officer shooting a Palestinian man who was lying on the ground. Another video appeared to show police with guns drawn keeping medics from reaching the man.

The Magen David Adom emergency service said it treated an ultra-Orthodox man in his 20s who was stabbed in the area, saying he was in moderate to severe condition. It said the attacker "was shot down.'' It was not immediately clear if the attacker was killed.

Israeli occupation police released surveillance video in which the attacker can be seen stabbing the Jewish man and then trying to stab a police officer before being shot and falling to the ground. Police said they "neutralized'' the attacker, and did not immediately respond to a request for clarification. They identified him as a 25-year-old from Salfit, in the occupied West Bank.

"The awareness and quick reactions by the police brought about the neutralization of the terrorist," police said in a statement. It said large numbers of security forces were deployed to the area.

Damascus Gate was the epicenter of protests and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli occupation police last spring, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The unrest spread to other parts of the city, including a nearby holy site sacred to Jews and Muslims, eventually helping to ignite the 11-day Gaza war.

The Old City is in east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war along with the West Bank and Gaza. Israel annexed east Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and considers the entire city its capital. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state, to include the West Bank and Gaza.

There have been dozens of attacks in recent years in and around the Old City, nearly all carried out by individual Palestinians with no known links to armed groups.

Palestinians and Israeli rights groups say security forces sometimes use excessive force in response to attacks, killing people who could have been arrested or who posed no immediate threat to security forces.

In one widely-publicized case, Israeli soldier Elor Azaria was caught on camera shooting a wounded Palestinian attacker who was lying on the ground. Azaria later served two-thirds of a 14-month sentence after being convicted of reckless manslaughter.

His case sharply divided Israelis. The military pushed for his prosecution, saying he violated its code of ethics, while many Israelis, particularly on the nationalist right, defended his actions.

In a more recent case, a Border Police officer was charged with reckless manslaughter in the deadly shooting of an autistic Palestinian man in Jerusalem's Old City last year.

The indictment came just over a year after the shooting of Eyad Hallaq, whose family has criticized Israel's investigation into the killing and called for much tougher charges. The shooting has drawn comparisons to the police killing of George Floyd in the United States.

Israel says its forces make every effort to avoid harming civilians and that it investigates alleged abuses.

Rights groups say Israel rarely holds members of its security forces accountable for the deadly shootings of Palestinians. Investigations often end with no charges or lenient sentences, and in many cases witnesses are not even summoned for questioning.

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