“If you are shocked by the killings in the U.S., look at what’s happening here – an entire people under occupation cannot breathe,” said Aida Touma-Sliman of the Joint Arab List.
By Josh Plank, World Israel News
Politicians and activists condemned the police shooting of Iyad Halak in Jerusalem on Saturday, comparing it to the recent killing of George Floyd in the U.S.
On Saturday morning, Jerusalem policemen near the Lion’s Gate spotted Halak holding a “suspicious object” that they believed to be a gun. They ordered the 32-year-old Arab to stop, but he ran instead. Two border policemen aided in the chase and eventually shot at Halak, killing him.
Halak was found to be unarmed. His family says that he had autism and was headed to a special needs school.
On Saturday evening, around 200 people protested in front of the Tel Aviv police headquarters and another 150 protested on Jerusalem’s King George Street. Protesters carried signs that read “Palestinian lives matter” and “justice for Iyad, justice for George.”
Shachar Weisbein, one of the protest organizers, said, “Police violence in East Jerusalem is a policy, just like the policy against blacks in the United States.”
Activist Sahar Vardi said, “There is no difference between the killing of George and the killing of Iyad. They are the result of a racist police supported by a racist government, and we are here to say that this is not possible.”
Laura Wharton, a Jerusalem City Council member from the Meretz party, said, “The case is shocking, and we must not put up with it – neither with the violence nor the sense that there is a superior race that thinks it can do anything it wants, including opening fire.”
Several members of Knesset also issued statements about Halak’s death. Aida Touma-Sliman of the Joint Arab List said, “If you are shocked by the killings in the U.S., look at what’s happening here – an entire people under occupation cannot breathe.”
Ayman Odeh, chairman of the Joint Arab List, said, “We must fight against the expected whitewashing of the case and make sure the cops sit in jail, while at the same time remembering that they only pulled the trigger, but the occupation loaded their weapon.”
Zaha Hassan, former senior legal advisor to the Palestinian negotiating team and visiting fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, went beyond suggesting similarities between George Floyd and Iyad Halak to claim that Israel is actually responsible for violence against American blacks by police officers.
“U.S. law enforcement have a long history of violence against black ppl & communities of color but some of the tactics we see of late are also byproducts of Israeli military training U.S. police. That needs to end,” Hassan tweeted on Saturday.