Seperation barrier Jerusalem.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A border policeman fatally shot a Palestinian man early Sunday morning while he
was trying to enter the capital illegally by climbing the separation barrier
near Isawiya, an east Jerusalem neighborhood.
The victim, Izzadin
Kawazma, a 37-year-old resident of Hebron, was part of a group of 15 men spotted
by a patrol of police and border policemen as they were attempting to climb over
the wall near the old road from Ma’aleh Adumim to French Hill, police spokesman
Micky Rosenfeld said.
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Rosenfeld said the men ignored police orders to
stop and fled, but an officer caught up with Kawazma.
Rosenfeld said that
Kawazma was shot after trying to grab the officer’s gun. He said it wasn’t clear
whether the officer fired or his gun discharged accidentally.
family members, who were among the group of men, denied that there was any
contact between Kawazma and the officer and that he was shot at point-blank
An autopsy on Sunday afternoon determined that the bullet hit the
victim’s right shoulder, severing major arteries to the heart, and that he died
almost instantly. A doctor who is a member of Physicians for Human Rights
attended the autopsy, along with members of the victim’s family.
rights organization B’tselem sent a field worker to the site of the incident to
speak with witnesses immediately after the shooting.
eyewitnesses gave testimony that seemed, on its face, to counter the media
reports of what the Border Police officers claim,” said B’tselem spokeswoman
Sarit Michaeli. “The [Justice Ministry’s] Police Investigations Department has
started investigating; we call on them to complete the investigation as quickly
Michaeli said at least six witnesses testified with to the
The border policeman reenacted the incident on Sunday afternoon for
He was later released to house
Jerusalem Police spokesman Shmulik Ben-Ruby told The Jerusalem
Post that the police and Border Police catch Palestinians trying to climb over
the separation barrier into Jerusalem almost every day. He added that the
attempts are made both by large groups, such as Sunday’s incident, as well as
While police are aware that some sections of the separation
barrier are particularly popular with Palestinians trying to enter illegally,
the barrier around Isawiya was not known to be especially problematic, Ben-Ruby
said. Police and Border Police patrols are increased in the problematic
“They find all these different areas where they can climb up and
enter Israel,” Ben-Ruby told the Post.
Ben-Ruby said that skirmishes
between the authorities and Palestinians trying to enter illegally have ended
with injuries, but this was the first time he could remember a
The shooting came almost two weeks after riots erupted in
Silwan, after a 35-year-old east Jerusalem resident was killed.
past two weeks, police have arrested almost 50 Arab residents for disturbing the
peace in various incidents.
In the riots immediately after the death of
Silwan resident Samr Sirkhan on September 22, violence spread from Silwan to the
Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives, as angry rioters threw thousands of stones
at police forces.
Ten people were injured, including a 35-year-old
Israeli who was stabbed in the back on moderately wounded near the Mount of
Rioters threw stones at officers, vehicles and buses causing
injuries and damage, and a police vehicle and several other vehicles were set
alight near Jerusalem’s Old City.AP and Jerusalem Post staff contributed
to this report.