Israeli Police Killing Of Palestinian Leads To Apologies And Echoes Of The U.S. : Live Updates: Protests For Racial Justice A fatal police shooting of an unarmed Palestinian man with autism in Jerusalem last weekend has stirred protests.
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Israeli Police Killing Of Palestinian Leads To Apologies And Echoes Of The U.S.

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Israeli Police Killing Of Palestinian Leads To Apologies And Echoes Of The U.S.

Israeli Police Killing Of Palestinian Leads To Apologies And Echoes Of The U.S.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Days after police killed George Floyd in Minneapolis, there was another police killing halfway across the world in Jerusalem. There, Israeli police shot an unarmed Palestinian man. While these shootings have occurred in the past, this one sparked protests, multiple Israeli apologies and comparisons to events in the U.S. NPR's Daniel Estrin reports from Jerusalem.

DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: Thirty-two-year-old Eyad al-Hallaq (ph) was on his way to his school for special needs students when police shot him. This has happened many times before - unarmed Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. But in this case, his story has elicited shock because he had autism. It's been all over the Israeli news.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

RANAD AL-HALLAQ: (Non-English language spoken)

ESTRIN: Here's his mother telling Israeli TV about his autism and that he was always afraid of Israeli officers. She'd tell him, just show them your ID, and you'll be OK. But an eyewitness said this time, police shouted terrorist and opened fire, wounding him. He ran for cover. Minutes later, an officer shot him again, killing him. A police spokesman says officers thought he had a gun. He didn't. The officer who fired the shot is under house arrest. And Israeli officials have been remorseful.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BENNY GANTZ: (Non-English language spoken)

ESTRIN: The defense minister, Benny Gantz said, "we are very sorry" and vowed a swift investigation. The public security minister, Amir Ohana, said in parliament, the family deserves a hug.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

AMIR OHANA: (Non-English language spoken).

ESTRIN: But the Israeli minister defended the police. He suggested Hallaq's autism made his behavior suspicious. Twenty-eight-year-old Palestinian Hala Marshood disagrees.

HALA MARSHOOD: Like, this is not a mistake. This is not an aberration. This is not an individual soldier's mistake. It's a systematized policy towards Palestinians, oppressing an entire population. The apology doesn't matter to us.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Non-English language spoken).

ESTRIN: She's been one of the protesters hitting the streets in demonstrations circulating on social media. Some protesters have chanted, I Can't Breathe and held signs saying Palestinian Lives Matter and other slogans comparing Hallaq to George Floyd. But Israeli professor of U.S.-Israel relations, Eytan Gilboa, thinks the comparison is unfair.

EYTAN GILBOA: I think there's a huge difference because in Jerusalem, there have been many cases of Palestinians dressed as civilians using knives to kill Israelis. It was a mistake. It was a tragic mistake. The United States is a different story. You have a history of racism in police forces and violence.

ESTRIN: But Israel has that history, too, says Hagai El-Ad of the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

HAGAI EL-AD: Once in a while, there are specifically horrific cases that get some more attention. But they do not change the overall grim picture of almost blanket impunity for any Israeli security forces that kills Palestinians, no matter what the circumstance is.

ESTRIN: The Israeli protests against police brutality have been much smaller than the protests in the U.S. That's a relief to Israeli Public Security Minister Ohana. He said he hoped no one would, quote, "try to bring Minneapolis here." Daniel Estrin, NPR News, Jerusalem.

(SOUNDBITE OF FANTOMPOWER'S "CLOUD NEON")

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