Israeli border guards kill relative of top PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat

CCTV footage has been released showing the moment a car being driven by a relative of senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat hit a police checkpoint in East Jerusalem.

The footage shows the silver Hyundai Accent colliding with a small police hut. The video, released by the police, then shows the moment they shot and killed Ahmad Moustafa Erekat.

In a statement accompanying the footage, Israeli Police Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said: “Yesterday [Tuesday] at 16:00 an attack took place and the terrorist was shot and killed.”

The statement continued: “In the footage the terrorist drives his vehicle towards the security crossing, slowly and then drove in the direction towards the female border guard at an angle and the female officer was injured lightly and taken to hospital.”

However, Mr Erekat’s family insist he lost control of the vehicle which he was using to transport members of his family to his sister’s wedding.

According to a family statement, Mr Erekat had hired the vehicle and was collecting his mother and sisters from a beauty salon in the West Bank town of Bethlehem and transporting them to the family wedding that evening.

“We believe that if something happened then it must have been a car accident or loss of control over the vehicle. As usual, police are quick to pull the trigger,” said the family member.

Ahmad Erakat was a nephew of Saeb Erekat, the secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO), the chief negotiator over the past 30 years of peace talks and a key figure in the peace process.

Accusing the Israeli police of “murder” and accelerating a “kill first justify later policy”, Mr Erekat demanded an independent investigation.

“Ahmed Erakat was murdered in cold blood at the Wadi al Nar road block, by Israeli occupying forces. They continue their lies and claim he tried to run over the soldiers. Netanyahu is responsible,” Mr Erekat senior said.

“The car was going at less [than] five kilometres an hour. This is not the speed needed for an attack. We demand an international investigation.”

The video shows the car approaching the checkpoint slowly before turning towards the police hut and accelerating.

One border police officer is seen being thrown into the air. The officer was later admitted to hospital with minor injuries.

The driver of the vehicle is seen getting out seconds after the impact. The video was pixilated by police before its release so it’s not possible to verify precisely how Mr Erekat was acting in the seconds before he was shot.

Writing in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, the dead man’s cousin, Dalal Iriqat, who is the vice president for International Relations at the Arab American University in Palestine said: “Our fight is to stop the killing of our people. When we cry for help, will anyone listen? Do Palestinian lives really matter?”

“He was executed by the Israelis after he lost control of his car and crashed into a checkpoint. They left him bleeding for more than an hour. The occupation army prevented an ambulance from getting to him, it prevented civilians from approaching to comfort him, it prevented witnesses who could record the details of the crime.”

Video of the moments after the incident confirms that no medical assistance was given to the man after he was shot.

Over the past few years, there has been an increase in car-ramming attacks as well as shootings and stabbings carried out by lone Palestinian attackers with no connection to armed groups.

There have also been instances of innocent people mistakenly identified as a threat.

Last month, Israeli police shot dead Eyad Hallaq, 32, who they believed to be carrying a weapon.

He ran away from them and was shot. He was later identified as autistic and walking to a nearby school for students with disabilities in Jerusalem’s Old City.

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