Israeli forces shot and killed the nephew of a senior Palestinian official at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank.
The deceased was identified as Ahmad Erakat, 27, a nephew of Saeb Erakat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Israeli border police said Tuesday that they shot and killed a suspect who they say attempted to run over a woman at a checkpoint in the Palestinian village of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem. Police said the officer was slightly injured in the incident.
Palestinian officials rejected the police account of the man’s death.
Ahmad was “executed” by the Israeli police, his uncle Saeb told AFP, adding that he blamed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for “this crime.”
He dismissed the police charge of an attempted car ramming as “impossible,” and said Ahmad was due to marry later in the week.
“This young man was killed in cold blood. Tonight was his sister’s wedding,” said Saeb.
“What the occupation army is saying, that it was trying to run over someone, is a lie.”
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the man “quickly drove his vehicle towards the direction of a female border police officer who was slightly injured.”
The officer was evacuated to a hospital.
Police did not immediately release video of the incident, and there was no way to independently verify the account. But police released a photo that appeared to show the vehicle after it collided with the checkpoint.
‘Palestinian lives matter’
Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi called on the international community to take “concrete steps” to hold Israel accountable for Ahmad’s death.
“The lives of Palestinians matter,” he wrote in a statement, recalling the police murder of an autistic Palestinian man in Jerusalem last month.
She said that Ahmad was going to pick up his mother and sister who were preparing for their sister’s wedding that same day.
“Israel also attempted to slander Ahmad and excuse his murder. It is part of a tragically familiar pattern, where Israel routinely uses false pretenses that are now too familiar to justify killing Palestinians for shooting happy soldiers,” said Ahrawi.
READ: Statement by @DrHananAshrawi on the cold-blooded murder of Ahmed Erekat, 28 years old. pic.twitter.com/HPEn9mcj9D
– Department of Diplomacy and Public Policy of the PLO (@PalestinePDP) June 23, 2020
Palestinians and human rights groups have also accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force, or in some cases opening fire on cars that simply lost control.
The director of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Bethlehem confirmed that a soldier prevented Palestinian medical personnel from approaching the man and allowed him to bleed, the Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.
“Ahmed Erekat, 27, beautiful young man. A son. A brother. Fiancee. My baby cousin,” Noura Erakat, a United States-based human rights lawyer, wrote on Twitter, sharing her photos.
“The Israeli cowards shot him multiple times, let him bleed for 1.5 hours and blamed him for his death. Tonight was his sister’s wedding, his next month. We were unable to protect him. I am very sorry,” he wrote.
Ahmed Erekat, 27, beautiful young man. A son. A brother. Girlfriend. My baby cousin. The cowardly Israelis shot him several times, let him bleed for 1.5 hours and blamed him for his death. Tonight was his sister’s wedding, his next month. We failed to protect it. So sorry. pic.twitter.com/3E341iE7sM
– Noura Erakat (@ 4noura) June 23, 2020
Tuesday’s incident pre-empts Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans to annex parts of the West Bank.
Netanyahu said the government would take steps to annex Israeli settlements, illegal under international law, and the Jordan Valley beginning July 1, as part of a broader plan by the United States. Palestinians have rejected the plan and want the West Bank to be part of a future Palestinian state.
The proposals have drawn widespread international criticism and warnings that such a move would lead to violence.
Al Jazeera and news agencies