"I was a few meters from the scene; at first the officers chased after
my brother and his friend, took them into the bathroom of a building
and beat them severely with clubs. A few minutes later they took him
outside and shot him", stated the brother of Eyad Abu Raiya, who was
killed Wednesday by a 19-year old Israeli officer in Jaffa.
"We will sue the killing officer and we will not give up until he is put on trial, even if it costs me my life", added Morad Abu Raiya in an interview with the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahranoth.
The perpetrator of the crime, an Israeli border officer, tried to claim initially that the Palestinian had tried to grab his weapon, but even his fellow officers would not allow such an incredible lie to stand, and by the end of Wednesday police had already determined that the officer's statement was a bald-faced lie. Despite that, the officer was released by Wednesday evening.
Morad Abu Raiya was working in Jaffa, along with his brother Eyad, on a construction site in Jaffa when the incident took place. The two were among the thousands of undocumented Palestinian workers who take the risk of crossing into Israel (although Israel has never officially announced its own borders, it persecutes any Palestinian that crosses into areas it claims are part of Israel).
Morad described to Yedioth Ahranoth what it was like for him to see his brother killed in cold blood. He said he ran toward his brother when the shots were fired, and found him "lying in a pool of his own blood….He was already dead." Worried that their parents would hear about his brother's death from the news media or Israeli police, he immediately phoned them at their home in the West Bank town of Tarqumiya, in the southern part of the West Bank.
“At first I told them that he was lightly wounded; as I made my way closer and closer to Tarqumiya I told them that his condition was deteriorating; I told them he was dead only after I got home,” he told the interviewer.
He added that his brother had been expecting the birth of his first child. “It was Eyad’s first day at his new job in Jaffa, and we were waiting for his child to bring us some happiness, because we have another brother who died less than six months ago from a kidney disease; but instead of rejoicing in the birth of a child I guess we are destined to live from tragedy to tragedy," he said in the interview with Yedioth Ahranoth.
He was angered at the fact that the border officer had been released after he admitted to both the murder, and to lying about it to the police. “I cannot understand how the officer, who admitted to shooting my brother, is being released instead of being punished and jailed,” he said. “We will sue the officer and the police; there are a million witnesses who were present at the scene and saw the beatings and the cold-blooded murder."
Israeli kills Palestinian worker without cause, lies about it to police, is released same day
A nineteen-year old Israeli security officer who shot and killed a
Palestinian worker in Jaffa Wednesday lied under investigation, but was
still released the same day, according to Israeli sources.
The police investigation revealed that the officer cocked his weapon unprovoked, contrary to the officer's original version that Palestinian tried to snatch his weapon. The teen subsequently confessed to having lied about the worker attempting to grab the weapon. Police released him on bail the same day, saying he would be charged with 'improper use of a firearm'.
Human rights workers expressed outrage that this was the officer's only charge, adding that he should be charged with murder of the unarmed worker.
The incident took place shortly after 8 a.m. Wednesday when Border Guard officers were patrolling the market in search of illegal workers. The officers spotted several Arab-looking workers and signaled them to stop near a construction site.
The police investigation team collected testimonies from all those involved, including eyewitnesses and other border officers. None of them confirmed the teen's account that the worker had tried to grab his weapon – instead, the officers and civilian witnesses confirmed that the Palestinian worker was quite a distance away from the teenage officer when he was shot and killed.
The man who was killed was a resident of Tarqumiya, near Hebron in the southern West Bank, who had crossed into Israel illegally in order to work. Unemployment levels in many parts of Palestine (West Bank and Gaza) are over 70% in many areas, and a lot of Palestinians risk crossing the border to work for Israeli employers.