Eyad Hallaq: UN condemns Israeli killing of unarmed disabled Palestinian man

Hallaq attended and worked at a special needs school in Jerusalem’s Old City

Protesters hold signs during a demonstration against the Israeli police after border police officers shot and killed Iyad al-Halak, an unarmed autistic Palestinian man, in the mixed Arab Jewish city of Jaffa, near Tel Aviv, Israel, after saying they suspected he was carrying a weapon, Sunday, May 31, 2020. Protesters gathered to protest the killing of al-Halak in Jerusalem and the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last week. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)
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The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process on Sunday condemned the killing of an unarmed, disabled Palestinian man by Israeli police in Jerusalem over the weekend.

Eyad Hallaq, 32, a resident of the Wadi Joz neighbourhood of East Jerusalem with special needs, was shot near the Old City of Jerusalem by Israeli officers, who later said they suspected him of carrying a weapon.

“My heartfelt condolences to the family of Eyad Hallaq, an unarmed Palestinian shot and killed yesterday in Jerusalem. A tragedy that should and could have been avoided!” Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process said Twitter on Sunday.

"The authorities should swiftly investigate and make sure such incidents are not allowed to happen,” he added.

Hallaq attended and worked at a special needs school in Jerusalem’s historic Old City, just metres away from where he was shot dead.

Police said he was carrying “a suspicious object that looked like a pistol” and ran away when ordered to stop on Saturday. They chased him on foot and opened fire. After the gunfire killed Hallaq, police discovered he was unarmed.

The Israeli Police Internal Investigations Department is investigating the incident.

According to the official investigation, out of the two officers who were chasing Hallaq, the senior one shot in the air while the junior one shot at the Palestinian man, who was trying to hide behind a skip. The junior officer said he shot at Hallaq because he suspected him to be a terrorist because he was wearing gloves and they believed he was carrying a pistol.

Israel’s defence minister Benny Gantz on Sunday morning expressed his condolences for the man’s death.

"We are very sorry for this incident," Mr Gantz said in a government meeting. "I am sure the issue will be investigated quickly, and conclusions will be drawn."

Hallaq's funeral took place on Sunday.

There were protests in Jerusalem and Jaffa demanding justice for Hallaq on Saturday evening. Protesters were holding banners with photos of George Floyd on, an unarmed African-American man who was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis last week. Floyd’s killing has led to widespread unrest in several American cities, much of it protesting police racism and brutality.