Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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Police Kill Palestinian Motorist Who Injured Them at Roadblock

Posted by claudiacampli su 8 aprile, 2009

IHT

By ISABEL KERSHNER

Published: April 7, 2009

JERUSALEM — Israeli police officers shot and killed a Palestinian motorist who ran into officers at a roadblock in an East Jerusalem neighborhood on Tuesday while nearby, the authorities were demolishing part of the house of another Palestinian who had gone on a deadly rampage with a heavy construction vehicle last July.

The motorist was killed in the center of Sur Baher, a Palestinian neighborhood in territory that Israel occupied and annexed after the 1967 Middle East war, stoking tensions in this volatile city.

Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, said that the motorist “attempted to run over” three officers operating the roadblock, and that all three suffered leg injuries. One of the officers opened fire and killed the motorist, whom Palestinians identified as Iyad Aweisat, 22, a resident of an adjacent East Jerusalem neighborhood, Jebel Mukaber.

Mr. Rosenfeld said the police were checking into whether there was any connection between the roadblock attack and the house demolition that was taking place less than a mile away.

The house belonged to the family of Hussam Dweikat, who killed three Israelis last summer when he plowed along a busy thoroughfare in a front-end loader, crushing cars and ramming into buses and pedestrians before an off-duty soldier and a police officer fatally shot him.

In 2005 Israel suspended the practice of demolishing the family homes of Palestinians who perpetrated deadly attacks. Israel said it used the measure as a deterrent, but it drew sharp international criticism as collective punishment.

Israeli officials, however, alarmed by a recent rise in attacks by Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, who have free access to the rest of the city and the country, have called for extraordinary action. In January, the authorities sealed up the house of a gunman from Jebel Mukaber who killed eight students at a Jewish seminary in West Jerusalem 13 months ago.

Though the Dweikat family appealed against the demolition of their home, an Israeli court ruled a few weeks ago that an upper part of the two-story family compound, where Hussam Dweikat resided, should be demolished, and that a storefront and some rooms at ground level should be sealed. The judge argued that the measure was meant to deter others and was “imperative to curb terrorist activities.”

Mahmoud Atur, 26, a resident of Sur Baher, said he witnessed the shooting of Mr. Aweisat, the motorist, at the roadblock on Tuesday morning. “He let his wife out at the clinic nearby and continued driving,” Mr. Atur recounted. “He was driving a little fast, and they opened fire.”

Mr. Atur said he did not believe that Mr. Aweisat had intended to run down the police officers.

Rioting broke out in Sur Baher immediately after the demolition and the shooting. By the afternoon, a tense calm prevailed.

At the Dweikat house, family members stood on a portion of the roof, surveying the rubble. Taysir Dweikat, the father of Hussam, said there were 25 family members living in the compound. He said he still did not know the truth about what happened last July, but assumed his son was in a traffic accident.

He said the partial demolition of the house, meant as a deterrent, did not frighten him. “It has made me stronger,” he said.

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