Border Policeman Shoots, Severely Wounds Palestinian in the Head in Case of Mistaken Identity

Police were looking for victim's brother during 'operations against car thieves' when they shot him in the eye before asking for a name to confirm his identity

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22-year-old Abd al-Rahman Jabarah and his father, Hosni, at the Sheba medical center where he is receiving treatment, August 7, 2020.
22-year-old Abd al-Rahman Jabarah and his father, Hosni, at the Sheba medical center where he is receiving treatment, August 7, 2020.

A young Palestinian man from the northern West Bank was hospitalized in serious condition after being shot in the head by an Israeli Border Police officer who fired at him without confirming his identity.

The 22-year-old Abd al-Rahman Jabarah, a resident of the village of Salam near Nablus, is receiving treatment at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer.

According to the police, a special Border Police unit was in the area along with other forces to carry out arrests early Wednesday morning, and was searching for Jabarah’s brother – who was not there.

The Justice Ministry’s department for investigating police officers is investigating the incident, and sources have confirmed the report.

22-year-old Abd al-Rahman Jabarah.

Jabarah was shot east of Nablus on the way down to the Jordan Valley, near where his family raises sheep, while he was sitting in the back seat of a car with two other young men. He was given immediate medical care at the scene, and was evacuated to the hospital by helicopter, where he arrived at around 4:30 A.M.

The driver of the car, Abdallah Ash'ar, told Haaretz that a police vehicle blocked their way and an officer stepped out of the car, cocked his weapon and fired immediately into the car, hitting Jabarah in the eye.

“His face was covered in blood and then the policeman asked his name,” said Ash’ar. “When he said Abd al-Rahman they realized they made a mistake.” Ash’ar and his brother were taken for questioning and released after a few hours, while Jabarah was evacuated to the hospital.

After the incident, the Civil Administration issued an entry permit to one of Jabarah’s brothers so he could be with him in the hospital, said the family’s lawyer. After receiving the relevant materials, the lawyers say they will file a civil lawsuit.

“We regret that an innocent person who has no involvement in crime finds himself unconscious and on a ventilator after being shot in the head," said the family’s lawyers.

Jabarah’s father, Hosni, told Haaretz that the unit brutally wounded his son. “My son lost his eye, I hope he will recover because he is now unconscious and on a ventilator.”

Hosni said his son was in the family’s plot of land on Tuesday evening for a few hours, when at around 2 A.M. he saw masked men and was scared to approach them.

Shortly after, other men arrived, who also own land in the area, said the father. Jabarah warned them a military force was in the area and got in the car with them. It seems the troops were looking for another one of his sons and made a mistake, said the father.

Border Police said that "while security forces in the Jordan Valley area conducted an operation against car thieves, a shot was fired at a Palestinian after he fled from the forces along with others. The case has been transferred to the Justice Ministry for an examination of the circumstances of the shooting."

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