Five days after the murder of George Floyd in the United States, Israeli forces shot and killed on May 30 Eyad Hallaq, a 32-year-old unarmed Palestinian with autism in Jerusalem’s Old City.
An Israeli police statement said: “In Jerusalem’s Old City, at Lions’ Gate area, police units on patrol spotted a suspect with a suspicious object that looked like a pistol. They called upon him to stop and began to chase after him on foot, during the chase officers also opened fire at the suspect, who was neutralized.” A police spokesman later confirmed to CNN that officers who checked the man’s body found no weapon on him.
“We are really sorry about the incident in which Eyad Hallaq was shot to death and we share in the family’s grief,” Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said. “I am sure this subject will be investigated swiftly and conclusions will be reached.” Arguably, even if conclusions were reached, it remains to be seen if anything will happen.
“Eyad was 32 of actual age and 7 years old of mental age as he had special needs since his birth.”
“Eyad was 32 of actual age and 7 years old of mental age as he had special needs since his birth,” Osama Hallaq, who is Eyad’s uncle, told Inside Arabia. “He had a card hanging on his chest [which] clearly states that he was disabled and had hearing impairment. He was childish, polite, weak, innocent, soft, organized, clean, and independent; [he] loved to do his own things by himself. He loved children, helped others, and put them before himself.”
“He was [an active] person,” Osama continued. “He liked farming and raising animals. He has been in a school for people with special needs for [six] years in charge of preparing, packaging, and sending meals for the needy. He loved his school and his work. The school was qualifying him to be an effective member in society. He had been out of school for 70 days due to the coronavirus [outbreak]. He was really delighted that the school would open after Eid al-Fitr.”
Eyad’s uncle added that on Saturday, May 30, Eyad went out to his school where he was trained to go by himself. The school is 15 minutes away from his home. “He arrived at 6:15 . . . at the Lions’ Gate. He didn’t have a gun. He was a man with a child’s mind who doesn’t know violence or conflict with Zionists,” Osama explained.
“He didn’t have a gun. He was a man with a child’s mind who doesn’t know violence or conflict with Zionists.”
Osama noted that Eyad had a mask and gloves out of concern for the pandemic as well as a phone. He added that the Israeli soldiers shouted at Eyad, but being frightened and afraid, he didn’t respond as he doesn’t trust anyone. Eyad continued walking, the Israeli officers followed him for 20 meters and he didn’t stop. Coincidently, Eyad’s caregiver, Warda, was on the scene and saw what happened.
“When the Israeli forces fired at him the first time, [Warda] told them: ‘He is disabled, do not shoot . . . He is disabled, do not shoot,’” Osama said. “However, they didn’t respond, but removed her hijab dress, jilbab [robe], insulted her, beat her, and aimed a weapon at her head.”
According to Osama, Eyad told the Israeli police: “I’m with [Warda] . . . I’m with [Warda],” and tried to seek protection from Warda, but they attacked him.
Osama added that Eyad, retreated and confined himself in the fetal position, with his face to the ground, and his back up. Here, Osama noted, other soldiers came as Eyad was on the ground crammed into a corner and in surrender:
“They advanced towards him and put their weapons on his back and from zero distance in cold blood, killed him with 12 bullets.” He concluded by saying that Eyad was very weak and innocent and his murder once more revealed the brutality of the occupation state.
Eyad’s story is only one of a series of discriminatory acts, which the Israeli occupation has been committing against Palestinians since 1948.
Eyad’s story is not unique. It is only one of a series of discriminatory acts, which the Israeli occupation has been committing against Palestinians since 1948. Palestinians today are increasingly facing such terror on their own. Most Arab regimes do not seem to prioritize the Palestinian cause anymore, either because they have been dealing with their domestic problems, or because they want to strengthen their ties with Israel.
Their silence is one factor that appears to have given the Israeli government even more confidence in carrying on with impunity its repressive treatment of Palestinians. The inherent weakness of the Palestinian National Authority (PA) combined with the internal political dispute between Palestinians, are yet more elements adding to the tragedy.
Sadly, Eyad’s story will be forgotten like the ones before it. It is also not likely to be the last horror story that one will hear from the ongoing saga of the brutal Israeli treatment of Palestinians. Such incidents have become part of the norm for Palestinians and, apart from the condemnation of ill-written statements here and there, not much else may come out of it.
Many have drawn a comparison between Eyad Hallaq’s and George Floyd’s killings.
Many have drawn a comparison between Eyad Hallaq’s and George Floyd’s killings. The latter was killed on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, by police officers.
“This murderous killing of Eyad Hallaq coming at this time connects in my mind the police murder of George Floyd in the U.S. with this horrifying incident in Palestine,” Richard Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, told Inside Arabia. “It suggests to anyone of conscience and empathy that such wrongdoing cannot be overcome by apologies, but only by ending with decisive action the injustice of underlying conditions. This means different things for the two societies.”
“In Palestine it means, above all, dismantling apartheid structures of control and dispersal of the Palestinian people, while in the U.S. the root of injustice is the lingering racism that can be traced back to slavery,” Falk, who is a former UN Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, added. “Both situations call for transformative changes that will only come about if sustained pressures are brought to bear on the established order.”
Citizens around the world should pressure their own governments to address Palestinian rights and stand up firmly for justice.
Indeed, the international community has an important role to play. Citizens around the world should pressure their own governments – especially those who claim to be champions of human rights but turn a blind eye — to address Palestinian rights and stand up firmly for justice and against inequality everywhere in the world. The international community’s double standards will not go unnoticed in history books.