Checkpoint firing investigations raise questions about the Israeli authorities’ version of events on world news


An investigation into the fatal shooting of a Palestinian whose car reached a checkpoint has raised questions about the Israeli authorities’ version of events and has re-focused on Israeli tactics and procedures in the occupied West Bank.

Ahmad Erekat, 26, a cousin of Palestinian diplomat and negotiator Saeb Erekat, was shot by the border police Seconds after his car reached an Israeli checkpoint between Jerusalem and Bethlehem on June 23, 2020.

Surveillance cameras released by the Israeli authorities at the time showed his car approaching the checkpoint before suddenly turning right. It hit a group of police officers. Notably, only one officer was slightly wounded.

The video showed him getting out of the car and walking backwards with his arms raised when he was shot multiple times.

Ahmad Erekat’s distance to the nearest Israeli officer. Image: Forensic Architecture

An investigation by Forensic Architecture, a London-based research agency specializing in human rights abuses, found that Mr Erekat:

  • Was shot without posing an imminent threat
  • Was not given first aid treatment from the Israeli authorities after the shooting, despite clear signs of life
  • Was treated “inhumanly, degrading”
  • Did not accelerate towards the police but showed signs of pre-impact braking
  • I did not turn to the police as the military claims

So far, the Israeli authorities have not handed over Mr. Erekat’s body for funeral and have not released details of their own investigation.

According to the probe, the speed of the car did not exceed 15 km / h.

According to the probe, the speed of the car did not exceed 15 km / h. Image: Forensic Architecture

Mr. Erekat’s family always insisted that he run errands before his sister’s wedding, which was due to take place later that day, and that he lose control of the car.

Authorities say the incident was a deliberate ram attack that occurs regularly at checkpoints across the West Bank.

Only one CCTV video of the incident was released, but Forensic Architecture investigators collected numerous other videos from witnesses.

With the help of a forensic collision expert, they concluded that contrary to what the authorities claimed, the vehicle maintained a constant speed until shortly before the impact.

Their video analysis from different camera angles revealed indications that Mr. Erekat may have braked at the last moment.

The 65-year-old has been the Palestinian spokesman for more than three decades

Ahmad Erekat was the cousin of the Palestinian diplomat and negotiator Saeb Erekat (pictured)

Mr Erekat was shot after getting out of the car and pulling back with his hands in the air. The military maintains the context of regular pile-driving attacks and its behavior when exiting the car gave the border police reason to believe they were in imminent life-threatening danger.

Through further video analysis, investigators were able to come to the conclusion that Mr. Erekat was not given first aid despite clear signs that he was still alive.

A Palestinian ambulance that arrived at the scene was denied entry.

An hour and a half after he was shot, the authorities removed Mr. Erekat’s body, which had been stripped naked.

Investigators said: “His body was treated inhumanly and degrading and was later confiscated by the army in order to deny him a proper burial – an act of collective punishment. To date, the Israeli army has not opened an investigation into the Erekat crash and drives continued to withhold most of the evidence. “

Mr. Erekat’s body is one of more than 50 currently held by the Israeli authorities. All are Palestinians who have been killed in recent years for allegedly committing acts of terrorism.

Saeb Erekat, the veteran Palestinian peace negotiator, led a very public call for the release of his cousin’s body pending his own death from coronavirus in November.

The investigation into the forensic architecture was supported by Al Haq, a Palestinian human rights group. Israel claims its director, Shawan Jabarin, has ties to the PFLP, which is internationally recognized as a terrorist organization.

Sky News presented the conclusions of the investigation into the forensic architecture to the Israeli authorities.

In a joint statement, the Israel Defense Forces and police said: “From the evidence gathered, it was beyond doubt that those present were certain they were in imminent life-threatening danger and that this was an attacker who had carried out a deliberate attack. “

“Contrary to allegations, Erekat was examined by medical personnel at the scene of the attack a few minutes after the attack. It was found that he had neither pulse nor breathing. Therefore no resuscitation was given on the spot and his death was pronounced.” There was no degrading treatment or violation of the deceased’s dignity throughout the incident. “

“The issue of holding the terrorist’s body is on trial in the High Court, so we will not be able to go into it at this point.”