Middle East

Israeli prime minister defends shooting of injured Palestinian

Video shows Israeli police officer shooting injured Palestinian youth when he was already lying on ground

Zain Khalil   | 05.12.2021
Israeli prime minister defends shooting of injured Palestinian Israeli police investigate the scene after Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian for alleged "attempted stabbing" near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate on December 04, 2021. Photo: Enes Canlı - Anadolu Agency

JERUSALEM

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday defended his soldiers who shot dead an injured Palestinian in occupied East Jerusalem.

"The officers acted outstandingly, exactly as is required from fighters in an operational situation like this," Bennett said in a weekly cabinet meeting.

Mohammad Salimah, 25, was shot dead by Israeli police on Saturday near the Damascus Gate outside Jerusalem’s Old City for allegedly carrying out a knife attack.

A video shot by activists showed an Israeli police officer shooting Salimah when he was already lying on the ground. Another video showed Israeli police officers with guns drawn preventing medics from reaching the injured youth.

The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) called the Israeli killing of Salimah an "extra-judicial execution."

Bennett, however, insisted that the video of the shooting was "edited", saying that "I suggest to everyone: Never rush to make a judgment about the behavior of officers in complex operational situations in the face of terrorism. It’s always better to wait a minute.”

For his part, Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Issawi Frej denounced the deliberate killing of the Palestinian, saying “assailants should be shot to save lives, not to take (the attackers’) lives when they no longer pose a threat.”

Arab-Israeli lawmaker Ayman Odeh, who is the head of the Joint List, said "opening fire on a person who doesn't pose a threat must be condemned not supported."

Several Palestinian and international rights groups have accused Israeli forces of shooting at Palestinians who do not pose any threat or danger to them and of being indifferent towards Palestinian lives.

*Writing by Ahmed Asmar

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