Israeli Bedouin Call for Investigation Amid Evidence Against Police Claims of Terrorism

Israeli security officials were quick to call the January incident which saw a police officer killed a terrorist attack, but an investigation is set to prove otherwise.

Demonstrators protesting home demolitions hold a banner with a picture of Yakub Abu al-Kiyan, January 23, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

A relative of a Bedouin motorist who ran over and killed a policeman and was then shot and killed by police in January has told Haaretz that from the beginning the family knew that the driver, Yakub Abu al-Kiyan, did not deliberately run over the policeman, Erez Levi. He called for a more formal probe of the incident.

The January incident took place during a Bedouin demonstration against the demolition of the unrecognized Negev village of Umm al-Hiran. Immediately after Levi was struck and killed by Abu al-Kiyan's car, police shot and killed him. Authorities initially claimed that Abu al-Kiyan deliberately ran over the policeman, but a probe into the incident is now expected to show that he did not intend to cause harm.

Reacting to the recent disclosures, Ra'ad Abu al-Kiyan, a relative of the deceased driver and a resident of Umm al-Hiran himself, told Haaretz that the family would like to see a formal investigation by the Justice Ministry's police conduct unit rather than the current more informal inquiry.

New video raises questions about alleged car-ramming attack by Bedouin Police

Referring Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who has oversight of the police, and Israel Police chief, Roni Alsheich, Ra'ad Abu al-Kiyan said: "We want the truth to come to light and for whoever needs to take responsibility for this to do so, from minister Erdan to police chief Alscheich and the officers who gave the orders in the field."

The Justice Ministry investigation of police officers' probe should be completed within two weeks, but officials may come out sooner with a statement saying that the evidence collected indicates that Yakub Abu al-Kiyan did not plan or commit a terror attack that caused Levi's death.

Bedouin Driver Shot by Israeli Police Was Not Carrying Out Attack, Probe Set to Show