Clashes Erupt After Israel Police Shoots, Kills Jaffa Youth

Jaffa residents burn tires in street clashes with police after shooting. Local lawyer accuses police of 'cold-blooded murder' out of 'grudge against Arab minority'

Clashes erupted between Jaffa residents and police on July 29 2017 after police shot and killed one young Arab man and moderately wounded another. Police say the two were fleeing the scene of a previous shooting. Rioters burned tires in Jaffa streets.
Tomer Appelbaum

Clashes broke out between residents and policemen in Jaffa on Saturday after policemen shot dead a 20-year-old man and moderatly wounded another. Police remained on high alert on Saturday evening as hundreds of forces attended the young man's funeral, where several confrontations were reported.

During the clashes in the afternoon, residents burned tires and roads were blocked from traffic. Police detained two men on suspicion of throwing stones at policemen and called on the public to stay out off the street. The clashes broke out on Yefet Street, one of the city's main roads.

According to the police, the two men were involved in an incident on Yefet Street and fled the scene on a scooter. The police then chased after them and shot at them.

The police said that “two suspects were found in a nearby street, wounded, and were evacuated to receive medical treatment.” One of the wounded was then pronounced dead at the hospital. 

Attorney Mouhamad Adreie of Jaffa’s Muslim Council strongly criticized the police. “Every time there is a bump between police and Arab Jaffa residents it all ends in very bad shape – whether it is severe bruising or death as it is today," he told Haaretz. "The police have no excuse for the cold-blooded murder by a cruel policeman who obviously has a grudge against the Arab minority.” He added that according to police reports, the teen fled from the original incident but there was no exchange of fire and he did not endanger the officers.

“From our point of view, this is the straw that broke the camel’s back because we suffer from it every day," said Adreie. "The police in Jaffa are perceived as a criminal body that conducts criminal acts against the residents and not as a body that aims to impose order and tranquility in the streets.

“We were afraid of this within the community considering the events at Al-Aqsa and the great support that Jaffa had in removing the metal detectors ... I estimate that there will be a step up in terms of responses on the Jaffa streets. As a representative of the community we will try to direct the anger and protest within the permitted boundaries.” 

The Justice Ministry has opened an investigation into the incident.

Attorney Ramzi Ktilat, a relative of the victim, said he does not know what led to the teen's death and did not receive details from the police. “The outcome is that someone here was shot to death by the police. It doesn’t matter what information we’ll get, there’s no justification for a police officer to shoot a person.” Ktilat said that the police had agreed to release the body after the autopsy so the funeral could be held on Saturday night.

Dov Khenin of the Joint List has asked the attorney general to investigate the incident. “It seems that the teen who was shot by the police was not a threat and could have been taken into custody by other non-lethal means. It is inconceivable that in the case of an Arab city or town, arrests end with shooting and killing," he said. "The time has come to stop this discriminatory and racist attitude toward Arab citizens of Israel and to start treating them equally and not like constant suspects."