A group of prominent Jewish and Arab intellectuals published a petition Thursday calling on the Israeli government to establish a committee of inquiry to investigate the shooting death of Khir Hamdan at the hands of Israeli police officers. Hamdan attempted trying to attack a police van, and was shot as he turned his back and began running from the police. The killing lead to widespread protests across the country, as well as a one-day general strike.
The petition states that tens of Arab citizens have been killed by the police since 2000. The signatories see that fact as a sign of a trigger-happy policy and a culture of racism within the police. According to the petition:
The list of deaths indicates the ease with which the police use weapons against Arab citizens – an unbearable ease that reflects the deterioration of professionalism and values of the police, and whose outcome is the unwarranted, brutal and illegal treatment of Arab arrestees and suspects.
The police’s brutal treatment of Arab citizens in Israel reflects the fact that the conclusions of the Or Commission were not internalized in the Israeli political establishment or in the police command, and were not implemented among the officers and policemen who work in the Arab sector. Policemen must remember that they are representatives of the government’s executive authority, and are responsible for protecting the life of Israel’s citizens, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity. They are not judges, not to mention executioners.
The signatories to the petition include journalist and former politician Yael Dayan, author Savyon Liebrecht, Dr. Ruwaida Abu Ras, journalist Oudeh Bisharat, Professor Shimon Levy, playwright Motti Lerner, author Salman Natour, playwright Joshua Sobol and author Yehudit Katzir among others.
More on the Hamdan killing:
PHOTOS: Protests in northern Israel after police kill Arab man
How police lied about the deadly shooting of Khir Hamdan
Netanyahu: Those who call to destroy Israel should have citizenship revoked