The Border Police officer who shot and killed Iyad al-Hallak, a Palestinian with special needs, in eastern Jerusalem in 2020 was acquitted of all charges by a Jerusalem district court on Thursday afternoon.
Hallak, a 32-year-old student, was shot dead on his way to school near the Lions' Gate of Jerusalem's Old City. In the Border Police's original statement, it was noted that the officer identified what appeared to be a “suspicious object” in al-Hallak's hands that they said looked like a gun, and told him to stop in his tracks, after which the man began to flee.
Border Police chased him on foot before firing at him, resulting in the special needs student's death.
Israel Police, Border Police commanders praise court's ruling
Border Police Commander Amir Cohen and Israel Police chief Kobi Shabtai both hailed the court's acquittal, stating that they had backed the officer "throughout the entire journey." Shabtai was Border Police commander at the time of the incident.
Cohen confirmed in a statement that the officer will be reinstated into Border Police, further adding that he approved the officer's request to join an upcoming commander's course.
"This is an incident in which a person lost his life, therefore an unfortunate incident...at the same time, we commanders sent the police officer on a mission and we carry the responsibility to stand by his side.
"I believe the court was correct in its ruling," the police chief said.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir also praised the ruling. "Our heroes who go out to defend us and the State of Israel with their own bodies will always get my full backing."
In the opposition, Hadash-Ta'al MK Ofer Cassif attacked the ruling, claiming that the Jerusalem court "greenlit the murder of Palestinians."
שוב מוכח, כפי שטענתי רק אמש במליאה, כי דם פלסטינים ככלל ובעלי מוגבלות בפרט הוא הפקר. בית המשפט נתן אור ירוק לרצח פלסטינים גורף. רצח אנשים עם מוגבלות ועל פי מוצאם כבר התרחש בעבר, זוכרים? pic.twitter.com/dYxsHDxyfE— Ofer Cassif עופר כסיף عوفر كسيف (@ofercass) July 6, 2023
This is a developing story.