Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Yesterday, Israeli forces killed Ahmad Erekat, a nephew of PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat, as he appeared to purposefully swerve into an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint. The Erekat family is calling it a cold blooded execution:

Palestinians said a man shot and killed by Israeli forces during an alleged car-ramming attempt was actually rushing to pick up his sister and mother ahead of a family wedding later Tuesday evening, accusing Israel of executing him in cold blood.

Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said his cousin, Ahmad Moustafa Erakat, was only rushing when Border Police shot him dead at the “Container” checkpoint in the neighborhood of Abu Dis, north of Bethlehem. Erekat rejected the Israeli account that the 28-year-old victim had attempted to run over a female officer in an attempt to commit a terror attack.

“My cousin, the nephew of my wife, was executed, murdered in cold blood and Netanyahu bears responsibility,” Erekat was separately quoted as having told the Kan public broadcaster.

According to Border Police, the younger Erekat was speeding when he arrived at a checkpoint at the entrance of Abu Dis. When an officer flagged him to halt, the driver veered toward her and slammed into the checkpoint tower. He subsequently got out of the vehicle and advanced toward forces who opened fire and killed him.

The Border Police have not yet released the video of the incident* (see below) which could clear up a lot. But a video has surfaced, from Ahmad’s phone, that appears to show that he was depressed and fighting some sort of accusations against him of collaborating with Israel, and that he had shamed his family:


The audio is unclear, but Shimrit Meir, who broke this story, says that he is saying, “Your brother is not a spy, I have never betrayed my homeland. I didn’t look at other men’s girls; ever since I got to know that girl, I didn’t know any secret of hers nor she of mine…Look at the situation I am in, I started telling things….I brought shame on my parents, and myself. …What happened to me has to do only with my fear and the thing that they put in my drink, and nothing else.”

I verified that this is consistent with what other Arabic speakers can understand from the video.

UPDATE 1: Meir says there was another similar video on his phone as well, where he spoke about the Shin Bet trying to recruit him, his saying some names to them,  and something about his photo on the COGAT page, which may be what shamed him.

The part that Erekat says  about shame, together with his exiting the car after the crash and approaching the border police,  strongly indicates that Ahmad was intending “suicide by cop.”

The shirt in the video seems to be the same one he was wearing when he was shot, which means that this video might have been made only minutes before the attack. (I don’t know the provenance of this photo.)



It seems possible that Ahmad was the target of a “honeytrap” where an Israeli poses as an Arab girl and strikes up a friendship to get information, and the family suspected.

The family claims that Ahmad was engaged to be married next month. Perhaps Erekat was also pressured to become engaged to a girl he did not want.

There are still questions to be sure, and the Erekat family is also accusing Israel of allowing him to die without giving him medical attention – there is one video showing him still moving while a border police officer walks near him.  Without knowing more, it appears that more could have been done to save his life.

But the video from the car strongly indicates that Ahmad Erekat fully intended to die and to erase his shame for some incident with a girl.

(h/t Yisrael Medad and Ibn Boutros)

UPDATE 2: Video of the incident shows what can only be a deliberate car ramming attempt.

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