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'Palestinian Lives Matter,' shout Israeli protesters over killing of Iyad Hallak

The killing of autistic Palestinian man Iyad Hallak is arguably a perfect example of brutality by a police force that sees all Arab civilians as suspects.
Israeli police wearing masks walk near a bronze sculpture by Italian artist Alessandro Mutto at one of the Stations of the Cross along the Via Dolorosa, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Jerusalem's Old City April 2, 2020. Picture taken April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Ammar Awad - RC2WYF955Z7O

Israeli border police shot and killed Iyad Hallak, 32, of East Jerusalem, at the Old City’s Lions’ Gate on May 30. An initial investigation has found that the officers suspected he had a pistol, so they chased and fired on him. He was not, in fact, armed. Hallak, who lived in the Wadi Joz neighborhood, was autistic, so he attended the Old City’s Elwyn Center for children and adults with special needs. According to reports, he had been making his way there on Saturday as he did every morning.

There is no doubt that East Jerusalem is a very tense space. When it comes to relations between Israelis and Palestinians, it is a powder keg that has known its share of terrorist attacks. Nevertheless, the question must be asked: Was this police brutality against Arabs? On May 28, Minister of Internal Security Amir Ohana posted on Facebook, “A person — any person — who attacks a police officer — any police officer — must know that he is risking his own life.” Regardless of whether there is a direct connection between the post and what happened on May 30, the post could be interpreted as giving a green light for the police to shoot at will.

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