In a shocking development on Monday, December 20, Israel’s public prosecutor closed the investigation in the killing of a mentally ill Palestinian citizen of Israel by security forces in May last year, claiming that it was the appropriate response to a “terrorist attack”.
Mustafa Younis, 26, was shot dead on May 13 last year when he reached the Sheba medical center in Tel Aviv with his mother for psychological treatment. The security guards who shot him had accused Younis of attempting to stab one of their colleagues with a knife.
However, a video of his killing which went viral on social media clearly shows that four security guards dragged him from his car after an argument and surrounded and shot him seven times from close range. He was killed on the spot while his mother was standing nearby.
The viral video led to protests forcing the Israeli police to open an investigation in the matter. The incident took place just weeks before the Israeli forces shot dead an autistic Palestinian man, Iyad al-Hallaq, on May 30 in occupied East Jerusalem.
Israel’s public prosecutor claimed that the Israeli security forces who killed Younis were acting “in accordance with the procedure” to prevent a “terrorist attack”. Several people have questioned this claim, with Younis’ family appealing against the public prosecutor’s verdict, calling it “a license to kill,” Middle East Eye reported.
The Israeli security forces have been involved in numerous killings of innocent Palestinians but have mostly been protected by the state. Only a handful of personnel involved in such killings have been punished so far, generally due to popular pressure.
Al-Hallaq’s case led to large-scale protests in the occupied territories under the slogan “Palestinian lives matter”. The security personnel responsible for his death was charged with “reckless manslaughter” by the Israeli prosecutors in October last year, four months after his death. However, the identity of the accused was not revealed and was only submitted to a district court last week, Middle East Eye reported.