Human Rights Watch Claims Palestinian Car-Rammer Was Unlawfully Killed, Demands Israel Return His Body
The notoriously anti-Israel NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) is claiming that a Palestinian who committed a car-ramming attack at a West Bank crossing earlier this year was unlawfully killed and his body should be returned to his family.
Ahmed Erekat, 27, smashed his vehicle into a booth at the crossing near Abu Dis, close to Jerusalem, on June 23, sending one Border Police officer flying. He then exited the car and was shot dead at the scene.
Video footage of the incident showed Erekat’s car slowly approaching the crossing in a line of other vehicles. When an opening appears, he makes a near-90 degree turn and quickly accelerates into the booth.
A statement published on Monday by HRW claimed Erekat was illegally killed because he “no longer appeared to pose an imminent threat to life.”
The group also lamented that Israel had not transferred Erekat’s body to his family. Israel has a policy of refusing to hand over the bodies of terrorists, partly due to Hamas’ refusal to return the bodies of two IDF soldiers killed in the Gaza Strip in 2014.
Omar Shakir — the Israel and Palestine director at HRW — said, “After fatally shooting Ahmed Erekat without apparent justification, Israeli authorities have unlawfully held his body hostage for more than ten weeks.”
“Preventing Erekat’s family from burying their son in a dignified manner is cruel and without legal justification,” he claimed.
HRW also appeared to give credence to the baseless claim that Erekat did not act deliberately, but was rather the victim of a tragic accident.
“Israeli authorities characterized the incident as a car-ramming attack,” the group said. “Erekat’s parents reject this characterization, telling Human Rights Watch that they believe their son lost control of the car, possibly as the result of a malfunction.”
HRW presented no evidence whatsoever to support this assertion.