THE CAR DRIVEN by Beduin teacher Yacoub Abu al-Kaeean is seen where it ran into policemen during the fatal January 18 demolition operation in the Negev village of Umm al-Hiran..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Following a six-month probe, the Justice Ministry’s Police Internal Investigations Department on Tuesday declined to prosecute officers involved in the January shooting death of Yacoub Abu al-Kaeean during a purported car-ramming in the Beduin village of Umm al-Hiran.
On January 18, multiple police units entered the Negev village of 400 to evict residents and demolish approximately 10 illegally constructed homes. A Jewish town is slated to be built in the area.
During the volatile home demolition operation, Kaeean, 50, a respected math and computer science teacher, was shot when his jeep rammed into and killed Sr.-St.-Sgt.-Maj. Erez Levi, 34, in what police deemed a terrorist attack.
Police claimed Kaeean, a father of 12, was a member of the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
However, according to eyewitnesses, the teacher – described as a peaceful community leader – had packed his possessions into his jeep and decided to peacefully leave the village to not witness the destruction of his home.
Aerial footage from a police helicopter of the alleged attack appeared to show police firing at the jeep he was driving before it rapidly accelerated toward the officers.
Following the release of the video, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said police called on the vehicle to stop, fired a warning shot in the air, and only shot Kaeean when he did not follow orders.
While speaking at Levi’s funeral, Israel Police Commissioner Insp.-Gen. Roni Alsheich said he had no doubt that the officers acted properly.
“They immediately charged and took out the terrorist, after which they carried on with their mission until it was finished,” he said.
On Tuesday, Kaeean’s family issued a statement condemning the Justice Ministry for not indicting the officers involved in the shooting, which they said was carried out “in cold blood.”
“It’s inconceivable that no one will be brought to justice for the unnecessary loss of life of a citizen and a police officer,” the statement said.
“In practice, law enforcement is not held to the same rules that apply to all other citizens. Once the state sends that message to its police officers, then we, as law-abiding citizens, are dependent on the good graces of officers who just received a license to kill without consequences.”