Despite Promises, Israel Yet to Investigate Suspected Execution of Wounded Jaffa Terrorist

Bashar Masalha was seemingly shot and killed by a police volunteer after the Palestinian had been caught and no longer posed a danger to the public.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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Lifeless body of Palestinian assailant behind stabbing rampage that left one dead in Jaffa after he was shot by a police volunteer near Tel Aviv.
Lifeless body of Palestinian assailant behind stabbing rampage that left one dead in Jaffa after he was shot by a police volunteer near Tel Aviv. Credit: David Bachar
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

Two weeks after the Justice Ministry announced that it was going to investigate the police shooting of a subdued terrorist following an attack in Jaffa, no one has been summoned for questioning. The police have also failed to issue any statement condemning the shooting.

The incident took place on March 8, when a Palestinian man, Bashar Masalha, went on a stabbing spree in Jaffa. He killed a U.S. tourist, Taylor Force, and wounded 10 people before police finally subdued him. Then, after Masalha was already lying on the ground, wounded but still alive, a police volunteer allegedly shot and killed him.

Video footage of the incident shows that civilians at the scene were urging the policeman to shoot, despite the fact that the terrorist no longer posed any danger.

Immediately after obtaining the footage, the Justice Ministry department that investigates police misconduct said it would open an investigation into the volunteer’s behavior. But it has yet to take any action on the case.

Policemen did collect testimony from bystanders at the scene and sent it to the department. But this testimony was taken by policemen from the same district in which the volunteer and policeman who accompanied him serve, as part of the standard procedure implemented anytime a policeman shoots someone. The Justice Ministry department hasn’t summoned anyone to testify, nor has it even held a discussion on whether the incident merits a criminal investigation or only a disciplinary one.

In the video footage, bystanders can be heard telling the volunteer things like “Give it to him in the head, don’t be afraid, give it to him in the head. Good, you’re a king.” A policeman is then heard telling his superiors over the radio, “I’ve neutralized him.” But the bystanders continue egging the volunteer on: “Son of a bitch! ... Give it to him in the head.”

At that point, at least one shot is heard, apparently fired by the volunteer. That shot is suspected of causing Masalha’s death.

Afterward, the bystanders praise the person who fired it. But then the other policeman can be heard saying, “Yossi, enough! He’s lying there neutralized. What are you doing firing for no reason?” One civilian can also be heard urging the police to stop shooting.

The footage leaves no doubt that Masalha no longer posed any threat, and that he was alive for several minutes while the policeman and volunteer stood over him with guns drawn. Nevertheless, police have yet to issue any statement condemning the shooting – in contrast to the army, which immediately issued a condemnation Thursday after a soldier in Hebron shot and killed a terrorist who had already been subdued.

Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich hasn’t spoken out about it, either, unlike Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gadi Eisenkot after Thursday’s incident. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has also been silent, in contrast to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Thursday. In fact, no official party has yet condemned the Jaffa shooting.

Justice Ministry sources said the case is still under investigation, and that all the relevant material has been given to them.

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