Palestinian Activist Dies Two Weeks After Being Run Over by Israeli Police Truck

Prominent activist Suleiman al-Hathaleen from the South Hebron Hills was hit by a police tow truck after blocking its path. Police say that they were not able to help him after he fell as Palestinians were pelting them with stones

Suleiman al-Hathaleen.
Suleiman al-Hathaleen.Credit: Courtesy of the family.

A Palestinian man who had been run over in the West Bank by an Israeli police truck two weeks ago after he tried to block its path succumbed to his wounds on Sunday night. Suleiman al-Hathaleen, a well-known activist from the South Hebron Hills, was 65 years old.

Police arrived, along with the tow truck, to the village of Umm al-Hir in order to confiscate decommissioned vehicles. Palestinian witnesses said Hathaleen stood on the road and tried to block the tow truck, which ran him over. Local residents called the Red Crescent Society, which evacuated him to the hospital. According to the witnesses, an Israeli soldier at the scene fired his gun a number of times during the incident.

The tow truck and a police car there left the scene without providing aid to Hathaleen, who was hospitalized in the Ahli Hospital in Hebron in critical condition, unconscious and on a ventilator, with injuries to his head and mid-section. He was declared dead on Sunday.

According to police, the Palestinians blocked the police car and the tow truck and threw stones at security forces, shattering a windshield and wounding the driver in the head. "As the forces moved towards the exit while stones were thrown at them, one of the rioters jumped onto the tow truck, fell to the ground and was hurt," the police statement said. "In the resulting situation, in which an impassioned mob tried to significantly hurt the forces, they were not able to stop and help the wounded man."

Hathaleen was a regular participant in protests in the region. After his death, Palestinian and Israeli activists eulogized him. Pictures of him taken at protests flooded social media.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the incident, calling it a “serious crime and part of a series of crimes Israel commits. It exposes the brutality of the occupation in oppressing the Palestinian citizens who participate in legitimate nonviolent protest to defend their land from the settlement enterprise and the settlers.” The ministry said it would continue to follow up on the incident “vis-à-vis the organizations as well as with the International Criminal Court in The Hague.”

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