Police open probe into funeral of Umm al-Fahm attacker

Family of Mahameed liable to NIS 50,000 forfeit for violating police conditions.

The scene of August 17's attempted stabbing attack in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City. (Fadi Mansour)
Police launched an investigation Tuesday into suspected violations of the restrictions imposed on the funeral of Ahmad Mahameed in Umm al-Fahm.
The resident of this city of 53,000 was buried Monday in his hometown after being fatally shot Friday while stabbing a policeman in Jerusalem’s Old City. If found in violation, Mahameed’s family may forfeit its NIS 50,000 deposit.
The police spokesman of the Hof district said that “in keeping with public safety and security, and in order to ensure public order, the Israel Police established, in accordance with its authority under the law (Section 70 of the Anti-Terrorism Law), conditions that allowed the body of the terrorist Ahmad Mahameed to be given to his family for a funeral in Umm al-Fahm.”
Those conditions restricted funeral attendance to a maximum of 150 people, but according to Channel 2, at least 1,500 people accompanied the bier.
Police also suspect the family violated rules governing the time of the funeral, and traffic.
“Due to non-compliance with the conditions, the police will open an investigation on suspicion of non-compliance and breach of order and will act to forfeit the monetary deposit, in accordance with the provisions of the law,” police said.
Mahameed’s family and Umm al-Fahm mayor Khaled Aghbariyya have said that he was mentally ill, and could have been subdued without ending his life. While police have described Mahameed as a terrorist, family members say he did not carry out the attack for nationalist reasons.
Mahameed approached a policeman near the Council Gate entrance to the Temple Mount, called Bab al-Majlis in Arabic, and stabbed him.
The policeman was lightly wounded. In response to the attack, another policeman at the scene opened fire killing the attacker. Police sources told KAN Radio that Mahameed was preparing to attack again, necessitating the immediate need to stop him.
Questioned over claims that police used excessive force in the handling of the stabbing attack, Jerusalem District Police spokesman Ofer Solomon told The Jerusalem Post on Saturday night: “I think that the video speaks for itself... You can see in the video unequivocally that the terrorist tried to murder a policeman, and the police reacted as they are expected to.”
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman tweeted in response to scenes of the funeral: “Are you asking yourself why Umm al-Fahm should be part of Palestine and not Israel? The sights from last night of hundreds of people participating in the funeral of a terrorist from their town with the flags of Palestine, and the cries, ‘In spirit and blood we shall avenge the shahid’, should finally answer your question.”
“The plan I published many years ago for the exchange of territories and populations is more relevant than ever,” he added.
Joint List MK Yousef Jabareen responded: “When Liberman smells elections, he repeats racist and fascist incitement against the Arab public in general, and the residents of Umm al-Fahm in particular. The population exchanges in his plan are other words for transfer and ethnic cleansing. The fact that a senior minister in Israel continues to speak out against state citizens reflects the gravity of the situation in Israel. Liberman is a danger to every citizen of the country.”
Liberman has touted his controversial plan of land swap or transferring jurisdiction of some Israeli Arab cities and towns to a future Palestinian state for several years.
In 2014 when he was foreign minister, Liberman said the residents of the “triangle” region southeast of Haifa have never wanted to be part of a Jewish state saying that residents have aligned themselves with the Palestinian cause and rejected Israel’s right to exist.
Speaking in Munich in February 2017, Liberman defended his idea that the only way to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict would be two states with population exchanges.
Jonathan Weber Rosen and Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report