Video contradicts more police claims in Umm el-Hiran killing

12:00 Feb 1 2017 Umm al-Hiran

Police said Yaqub al-Qi’an’s headlights were switched off when police officers shot at his car. A video analysis by Forensic Architecture and Activestills appears to disprove that claim.

By John Brown* for 972Mag Feb 1, 2017

Israeli police’s official version of the events that led to the death of two people — a Bedouin citizen of Israel and a police officer — in the village of Umm el-Hiran last month continues to be undermined by facts and documentary evidence.

Almost every element of the story police relayed in the hours after the deadly incident has been repudiated in various media reports and investigations. Now, it seems the police claim that Yaqub Musa Abu al-Qi’an was driving with his lights off, which allegedly made police suspect he was carrying out a vehicular attack, is most likely untrue as well.

Israeli authorities say that Yaqub Musa Abu al-Qi’an intentionally accelerated toward a group of police officers who had amassed to demolish his entire village, and plowed into them, killing officer Erez Levi. But eyewitnesses accounts and video evidence indicate that police opened fire on Abu al-Qi’an’s vehicle before it sped up and that the car struck police as a result of the driver losing control.

The second part of a video analysis investigation conducted by Activestills and Forensic Architecture, who shot and collected various angles of video of the incident, indicates that the headlights of Abu al-Qi’an’s vehicle were indeed switched on when officers shot him.

The forensic analysis is based on newly discovered video published by Al Jazeera. Analysts at Forensic Architecture put the video alongside another angle of the incident captured by Activestills photographer Keren Manor and aerial footage released by police.

The video shows Abu al-Qi’an’s vehicle, after three shots were fired at it, heading down a slope with its headlights on — before striking any police officers.

A previous analysis by Forensic Architecture and Activestills found that Abu al-Qi’an’s vehicle only sped up after being shot at by police, casting doubt on the police’s narrative that officers thought they were preventing a vehicular attack and lending credence to the theory that he lost control of his vehicle because he had been shot, only running into a group of officers once he was incapacitated or had lost control.

Police also initially claimed that Abu al-Qi’an had ties to ISIS, but the only evidence they provided backing up that claim was the fact that three copies of the Israel Hayom newspaper with headlines about ISIS were found in his home. That claim now appears to have been quietly dropped.

Umm al-Hiran is one of dozens of so-called “unrecognized villages” in Israel’s south, in which approximately 100,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel live without electricity, water, and other basic services the state refuses to provide.

State authorities came to demolish the village and its dozens of homes last month after residents lost a years-long legal battle to save their homes. In the place of the Bedouin town, Israel plans to build a Jewish town — named “Hiran” in its place.

*John Brown is the pseudonym of an Israeli academic and a blogger. This story first appeared in Hebrew on Local Call, where he is a blogger. Read it here.

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Feb 3,2017 A new video filmed by Al Jazeera has contradicted claims by Israeli officials concerning the killing of Bedouin teacher Yaqoub Moussa Abu al-Qian, a math teacher and Palestinian citizen of Israel who was shot dead by Israeli police last month during violent demolition raids in the village of Umm al-Hiran in the Negev, according to a report released by Haaretz on Thursday.

In one of several contested claims by Israeli police over the circumstances of the killing, the police and Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan claimed that al-Qian was driving toward police without his headlights on.

However, the new video released shows clearly that al-Qian did indeed have his headlights on before his car rammed into a group of police, killing one.

The Joint List, which represents parties led by Palestinian citizens of Israel in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, were quick to accuse Israeli police of spreading misinformation on Israeli media following the incident.

In a statement released by the Joint List at the time, the group argued that Israeli police lied in their claims in order to distract from Israel’s campaign to establish Jewish-only towns "on the ruins of Bedouin villages.”

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld said that during a raid of the slain Palestinian's home, police found three copies of a Hebrew-language newspaper from 2015 with the headline: "Isis bomb that took down a plane," suggesting that the old newspapers were evidence that the man carried out a terror attack.

However, according to Haaretz, the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security agency, reported two weeks after the incident that they had yet to find any evidence connecting al-Qian to ISIS.

Meanwhile, numerous eyewitnesses reported that Israeli police fired at Abu al-Qian, while he was driving, which caused him to spin out of control and crash into Israeli officers. Family members also firmly denied Abu al-Qian intended to carry out an attack.

Israeli police footage published last month by Haaretz, which they said was most likely from a police a helicopter hovering above the scene, appeared to show police officers shooting at al-Qian as he was driving at a very slow pace, and only several seconds after the gunfire does his car appear to speed up, eventfully plowing through police officers, raising questions on whether the incident was intentional or the result of Israeli gunfire.

According to Haaretz, the incident has continued to be investigated by Israel's Justice Ministry.

Umm al-Hiran is one of 35 Bedouin villages considered “unrecognized” by the Israeli state, and more than half of the approximately 160,000 Negev Bedouins reside in unrecognized villages.

The unrecognized Bedouin villages were established in the Negev soon after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war following the creation of the state of Israel. Now more than 60 years later, the villages have yet to be recognized by Israel and live under constant threats of demolition and forcible removal.
The Joint List have described the actions by Israeli authorities as "a terrorist and bloody invasion that brings to mind the scenes of displacement and destruction of Arab villages during the Nakba in 1948."

Some 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly displaced during the creation of the state of Israel in what Palestinians call the Nakba -- “catastrophe” in Arabic.
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