A stunning admission (in Hebrew)

A stunning admission was published overnight on Richard Silverstein’s Tikun Olam blog, here: the Israeli Border Police person [apparently male] who finished off an already-wounded Ziad Julani in the Wadi Joz neighborhood of downtown East Jerusalem on 11 June, has reportedly admitted firing at “point blank range”.

Why? Because, the Border Police person said, because he believed Ziad was a “terrorist”.

This has been, for years, the excuse and justification for almost everything here. Until now, it is almost impossible to refute.

The Israeli general public, the media, and the country’s Supreme Court all fall into line “and salute”.

Apparently, this is so far published only on the Hebrew-language website of Haaretz — and not yet presented to the somewhat more sceptical English-language audience.

Silverstein reports, on his Tikun Olam posting, that “The Justice Ministry has begun an internal investigation and Jilani’s body has been exhumed and an autopsy will be done [n.b. – the autopsy is apparently complete, but results are not yet reported]. As part of the investigation, the murder scene and entire incident were reconstructed. During this event, the shooter admitted, according to Haaretz’s report (Hebrew), that he shot Jilani at point-blank range. He claimed, however, that he believed Jilani was a terrorist and killed him because he feared he was wearing a suicide vest. Further, he claimed he fired to protect the lives of innocent bystanders”.

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An unnecessary + brutal death in downtown East Jerusalem

The facts are not all in yet.

But it is, clearly, a tragedy.

One thing seems clear: a man (his name was Ziad al-Jolani, a 41-year-old father of three young daughters) was killed in Wadi Joz, a neighborhood of downtown East Jerusalem, on Friday around the time of Friday weekly prayers in the nearby Al-Aqsa mosque in the Old City of East Jerusalem — for which occasion, this week, there was a special Israeli security alert with special restrictions on attendance, just in case there might be an unrestrained reaction to the Israeli naval assault at sea on Monday 31 May on six ships in a Freedom Flotilla whose intention was to head to Gaza, and the subsequent interdiction and confiscation five days later of a seventh ship, the MV Rachel Corrie, last Friday 4 June.

As part of the Israeli security preparations, Israeli Border Police had formed a “flying checkpoint” (complete with metal police barricades, apparently), to slow down and stop any “suspicious” traffic.

Ziad was driving a small white truck, and something happened. It is not yet clear what.

Most unfortunately, the Israeli Border Police thought they knew what it was: a terror attack. They say that Ziad tried to use his vehicle to run them over, to kill them.

They ordered him to stop, but he did not. So, they say, they shot him.

But there were plenty of other police forces deployed around East Jerusalem at that time, and if Ziad had escaped capture there, he surely could have been stopped, easily, by other nearby forces, with a minimum of radio communication and coordination… He was not armed, and the justification for shooting is not convincing.

UPDATE: a family photo of Ziad and his youngest daughter posted on the Mondoweiss blog

Ziad al-Julani and his youngest daughter
Ziad al-Julani and his youngest daughter

Continue reading An unnecessary + brutal death in downtown East Jerusalem