ISRAEL: Family of Palestinian driver killed by police demands investigation
Israel on Monday was facing another demand for an investigation into its military's actions, this time from the Palestinian Authority and the family of a Palestinian resident of East Jerusalem, who was shot and killed Friday.
Ziad Joulani, 41, a shopkeeper and father of three with no criminal or history of political activism, was killed when police opened fire as he got out of his car, witnesses said. [For the record: An earlier version said Joulani was a father of four; he has three daughters.]
According to the official Israeli account, Joulani attempted to run over police officers on an East Jerusalem street, prompting them to open fire. Police described the incident as an attempted "terrorist attack." Some officers were said to be "lightly wounded."
But family members say Joulani was caught in the wrong place and the wrong time between police and rock-throwing Palestinian youths. They say a rock hit his car, causing him to swerve and accidentally side-swipe a police car.
According to witnesses, Israeli police immediately opened fire, hitting Joulani in the arm. He still managed to drive to an open area, pull over and get out. But police officers continued to shoot, seriously injuring him. According to witnesses, he was killed with a shot to the head at close range.
The Palestinian Authority government said in a statement Monday after its weekly meeting that it “strongly condemns the crime of the occupation force in Jerusalem," It went on to say that the government “has suspicions about the Israeli story” demanding “a neutral investigation into the incident.”
The family’s lawyer, Muhannad Jbara, said that he is going to court to seek an investigation into the killing, since, according to him, the evidence shows that Joulani was killed in cold blood and that he did not attempt to run over the police officers. He said that he will start collecting testimonies of people who saw the incident to prepare for the court case after the family ends its mourning period.
— Maher Abukhater in Jerusalem
Photos: Top, Ziad Joulani; Middle: Joulani with his youngest daughter, Yasmeen. Credit: Joulani family. Left, Joulani's three daughters, Mirage, Yasmeen and Hannah, at his funeral in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Shufat. Credit: Tara Todras-Whitehill / Associated Press