After Israeli police shot and killed Yaqub Musa Abu al-Qi’an before demolishing his home, the state held onto his body for nearly a week. Only an appeal to the High Court allowed his family to bury their loved one.
The only way to describe what took place on Monday in Israel’s High Court, during a hearing on a petition by the Abu al-Qi’an family demanding the police release the body of Yaqub Musa Abu al-Qi’an, is as a nerve-racking drama. For three hours, those present in the courthouse — police officials on one side, and members of the Abu al-Qi’an family and Arab leaders on the other, including half of the Joint List Knesset members — listened to the arguments put forth by both sides and tried to glean which direction the wind was blowing.
Here’s some background before we get to the case: Abu Al-Qi’an was shot and killed by police during home demolitions in the Bedouin village of Umm el-Hiran in the Negev last Wednesday. A close analysis of a video that captured the killing — as well as initial findings from the autopsy that were published by the media — indicate that he lost control of his car after being shot, only then running over and killing a police officer. The autopsy further showed that Abu al-Qi’an bled to death without receiving any medical help, which likely would have saved his life.
Israeli police were quick to disseminate their version of events following his death, according to which Abu al-Qi’an was an ISIS-supporting terrorist who tried to ram his car into security forces (the only evidence of which was that he had several copies of Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom in his home). The large question marks surrounding the incident did not stop Police Commissioner Roni Alsheikh and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan from continuing to call Abu al-Qi’an a terrorist, all while the Department of Internal Police Investigations is still investigating the incident.
The police refused to release his body after the killing, holding on to it as a bargaining chip ֿto force the family to accept three conditions for the funeral: it would be held in the Bedouin township of Hura, rather than in Umm el-Hiran; the number of participants would be capped at 50 (Arab politicians and public figures would not be allowed); and it would have to...Read More