Fatah official: I wish my brother was killed by Israel, not Palestinians

Khalil, 47, was shot in the chest on Wednesday night when he and other Palestinians tried to arrange reconciliation between two rival families in Al-Bireh, the twin city of Ramallah.

FATAH GUNMEN hold rifles during a demonstration in the West Bank. (photo credit: REUTERS)
FATAH GUNMEN hold rifles during a demonstration in the West Bank.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the Palestinian General Authority of Civil Affairs and member of the Fatah Central Committee, said on Thursday that he wished his brother, Khalil, had been killed by Israel, and not by Palestinians.
Al-Sheikh was speaking to reporters during the funeral of his brother, who was shot dead on Wednesday night during a family feud in Al-Bireh, the twin city of Ramallah.
Several Palestinian officials attended the funeral, including Jibril Rajoub, a senior Fatah official, and Majed Faraj, head of the Palestinian Authority’s General Intelligence Service.
Masked gunmen who also attended the funeral fired automatic rifles into the air as PA security forces sealed off the area of the cemetery, where Al-Sheikh’s brother, 47-year-old Khalil al-Sheikh, was buried.
Palestinians expressed fear that his death would pave the way for scenes of anarchy and lawlessness in Ramallah and Al-Bireh, particularly after dozens of masked gunmen appeared on the streets of the two cities shortly after the shooting. The gunmen forced shopkeepers to close their businesses.
“I was hoping that Khalil would die while being chased [by Israel],” Hussein al-Sheikh said. “I was hoping, from the bottom of my heart, that the bullet that killed Khalil was an Israeli bullet.”
The senior Fatah official called for unity and for preserving the Palestinian social fabric in the aftermath of his brother’s death. “I promise to amputate my arm if it takes part in undermining our social and national fabric,” he said.
Earlier, the PA announced that it has formed a commission of inquiry to investigate the murder of Khalil al-Sheikh, who was apparently shot in the chest during a family feud in Al-Bireh.
Unconfirmed reports claimed that he was shot by an officer of the Palestinian Preventive Security Force. The suspect has been arrested by the PA security forces, the reports said.
Khalil died shortly after being rushed to a hospital in Al-Bireh.
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, announcing the decision to form a commission of inquiry into the incident, instructed its members to take all necessary measures to find out what happened.
PA security officials said that the shooting incident was directly connected to a family feud and had nothing to do with the victim’s brother, Hussein al-Sheikh, who is one of the most powerful Fatah figures in the West Bank.
The officials warned that the PA security forces would not allow scenes of anarchy and lawlessness on the streets of Ramallah and Al-Bireh. They were referring to the appearance of Fatah gunmen in some neighborhoods immediately after the shooting incident.
Several Palestinians, meanwhile, scoffed at Shtayyeh’s decision to form a commission of inquiry into the killing and pointed out that the move came only because the victim was the brother of a senior Fatah official.
“More than 20 Palestinians were killed in various violent incidents in the West Bank in the past year, but we didn’t see the Palestinian Authority set up special commissions of inquiry,” said a Ramallah-based Palestinian journalist.
Other Palestinians complained that the PA government was not doing anything to confiscate the weapons of Fatah gunmen in the West Bank. “It’s time for the Palestinian government to take serious measures to prevent widespread anarchy and chaos on the streets of Palestinian cities and refugee camps,” said Muhanad Tawil, a businessman from Al-Bireh.