Video emerges on killing in Umm al-Hiran, as family awaits return of slain Bedouin’s body

A new video has emerged capturing the killing of Umm al-Hiran resident and local teacher Yaqoub Abu al-Qian who was shot to death by Israeli police on Wednesday, while his family continues to await the return of his body.

Ma’an News Agency obtained a video on Saturday that was filmed by a resident of Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran of the moment that al-Qian was shot, as dozens of gunshots are heard and Israeli police yelling “gunshots” and heading to the source.

Israeli police claimed that the math teacher was carrying out a vehicular attack which killed police officer Erez Levi, 34, though a number of witnesses and Palestinian officials with Israeli citizenship have disputed Israeli security forces’ version of events, saying that police officers opened fire on Abu al-Qian despite him not representing a threat, causing him to lose control of his vehicle and fatally hit Levi.
Meanwhile, Israeli police footage published by Israeli daily Haaretz on Wednesday, which they said was most likely from a police a helicopter hovering above the scene, appeared to show police officers shooting at al-Qian as he was driving at a very slow pace, and only several seconds after the gunfire does his car appear to speed up, eventfully plowing through police officers.

Abu al-Qian’s autopsy report was also released on Friday, detailing that the teacher had been killed by two bullets that were fired at his vehicle, the first of which struck him on his right knee, and the second in a main artery in the chest area, before he was left to bleed to death.

Israeli Channel 10 reported that Abu al-Qian’s knee injury led to the acceleration of his vehicle after his leg pressed against the gas pedal, and added that he had lost large amounts of blood which would have made it impossible to save him.Nevertheless, they reported that he had been left to bleed for a half and hour as ambulances were prevented from providing him first aid.

Witnesses said that Israeli police pulled an injured Abu al-Qian from his vehicle at the time and shot him another time to confirm his death. However, this testimony contradicts the autopsy report that stated he had bled to death.Meanwhile, the family of Abu al-Qian have continued to refuse conditions set by Israeli police in order to receive the slain body of Abu al-Qian.
The Israeli police have refused to release his body unless the family agrees to limiting the attendants to the funeral to 50, holding it at night, and launching it from his mother’s home in Hura village, and not the ruins of his home in Umm al-Hiran, which was demolished following an Israeli demolition campaign in the village in the wake of violent clashes erupting on Wednesday.

The family has refused the pre-conditions for the funeral, with relative Najeh Abu al-Qian telling Ma’an on Friday that the Israeli police has attempted to exert pressure on the family to accept the conditions, but the family has continued to refuse. On Thursday, the family demanded an investigation into his death, as witness testimony and video published by Haaretz, has contradicted claims made by Israeli police.NGO Adalah — The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, who is representing Abu al-Qian’s family, released a statement Thursday demanding an investigation be opened into the circumstances of the death of Abu al-Qian.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld wrote in a statement at the time that “a vehicle driven by a terrorist from the Islamic Movement intended to strike a number officers and carry out an attack,” and that police officers responded by shooting and killing the driver.According to the Adalah, the police video footage of the incident and eyewitness testimony reveal that police opened fire on Abu al-Qian’s vehicle before he accelerated in the direction of officers. “This totally contradicts police claims that Abu Al Qi’an sought to ‘ram’ them with his vehicle,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, MKs Ahmad Tibi and Usama Saadi of the Joint List introduced a new bill on Thursday to the Knesset proposing a ten-year freeze on demolitions of homes built by Palestinians in Israel without government-issued permits in order to develop a comprehensive zoning and development plan.“It’s not an accident that there are tens of thousands of homes with demolition orders against them” in Palestinian communities in Israel, Tibi told Israel Radio. “It’s not in their genes. There are no development plans, no zoning plans, no expansion.”

Rights groups have long claimed that demolitions in Bedouin villages unrecognized by Israel were a central policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish-Israeli communities.

Groups such as the Negev Coexistence and Civil Equality Forum and the Coalition of Women for Peace placed responsibility for the deadly violence squarely on the Israeli government.

“The direct responsibility for today’s dangerous escalation and bloodshed at the village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev rests upon those who took the decision to destroy a Bedouin village which had existed for decades, completely raze and wipe it off the face of the earth, to expel the residents and establish a Jewish ‘community’ in its place,” Gush Shalom quoted the groups as saying at the time.Sarah Leah Whitson, the executive director of the Middle East division of NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), said that the events at Umm al-Hiran followed “a pattern of excessive force used by the Israeli police.”

“As in the West Bank, Israel discriminates against Bedouins and Palestinians more generally inside its borders in its planning policies, which seek to maximize control of land for for Jewish communities. Israel should investigate the killings, hold those responsible to account, and abandon the discriminatory plan to raze Umm al-Hiran.”