Israeli forces shoot and wound deaf Palestinian at checkpoint

The incident comes three months after Israeli police chased and shot dead a Palestinian man with autism

Israeli police and border guards man a checkpoint used to cordon off the neighbourhoods of Romema and Kiryat Belza to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, in Jerusalem on July 12, 2020. (Photo by AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP)

Israeli security guards on Monday shot and wounded a Palestinian who is deaf and could not hear their commands to stop at a West Bank checkpoint, police said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the 60-year-old man was walking in an area of the Qalandiya crossing north of Jerusalem where only vehicles are permitted. Mr Rosenfeld said security guards called upon the man to stop but he continued to “approach them suspiciously”.

They then shot at his legs, wounding him moderately. Only afterwards did the guards discover that the suspect did not respond because he “cannot hear or communicate”, Mr Rosenfeld said.

The incident comes less than three months after Israeli border police shot and killed a 32-year-old Palestinian with severe autism who was apparently mistaken for an attacker. Officers chased the man into a nook in Jerusalem’s Old City and fatally shot him as he cowered next to a rubbish bin.

The killing sparked widespread criticism and calls for police to amend their open fire guidelines to take into consideration those with disabilities.

Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups have long accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force in some cases.

Heba Yazbak, an Arab MP, said Monday’s incident exposed Israeli forces as trigger-happy.

“First they shoot and then they check,” she said. “The shooting of an innocent deaf Palestinian is just another example of the ease with which Israeli security forces can harm human life.”