The chief of Palestinian police in Hebron, Colonel Ahmed Abu al-Rub, was suspended from his job after he was documented changing the tire of an Israel Defense Forces vehicle.
The image, which circulated on social media networks, sparked outrage in the Palestinian Authority and embarrassed senior police ranks. The head of Palestinian police, General Hazem Atallah, decided to suspend the officer and open an investigation into the incident.
According to initial information obtained by police, the incident took place on Sunday near the West Bank village of Susya. Israeli soldiers were patrolling there when their vehicle got stuck due to a flat tire. The soldiers were asking for help and al-Rub gave them tools. When the soldiers failed to change the tire, he did it himself.
The picture documenting al-Rub helping the soldiers, which was taken by Palestinians who were at the site, was leaked online and became viral within hours. Palestinians commenting on the photo blasted the PA and its security officials.
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PA police spokesman Louay Zreikat released a statement Thursday in which he announced the al-Rub has been suspended and that an investigative committee was established to look into the incident.
"To our dismay, some are using this photo to attack the Palestinian police and to incite against its officers intentionally, despite the fact that they toil around the clock in order to give the Palestinian people a sense of security," Zreikat stated.
Despite his statement, many Palestinians reiterated a call on social media to fire al-Rub and used the image to criticize the security coordination between Israel and the Palestinians.