'The killing of math teacher Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan during an early 2017 raid on a Palestian village was in many respects a typical act of violence by Israel’s colonization project. A Palestinian was left dead, others injured and homes were destroyed – starting with those belonging to Abu al-Qiyan’s family – to make way for a Jewish settlement.
There are unique aspects to his case – he was killed in Israel, not in the occupied West Bank, for one. And thanks to the UK-based research group Forensic Architecture, a moment-by-moment breakdown of the events leading up to Abu al-Qiyan’s death and the state cover-up that followed has been made publicly available.
When Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan was killed in a Bedouin village slated for demolition on 18 January 2017, Benjamin Netanyahu immediately alleged he had carried out a “terror attack.”
The narrative pushed by Israel’s prime minister, as well as interior minister Gilad Erdan and police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld, was that Abu al-Qiyan was attempting to attack officers with his car, killing officer Erez Levi. Rosenfeld and police chief Roni Alsheikh even claimed that Abu al-Qiyan had links to the Islamic State group.
But residents of Umm al-Hiran, the Naqab desert village in southern Israel stormed by hundreds of officers that day, as well as activists present, swiftly challenged the government’s narrative of events. They said that Abu al-Qiyan was killed without provocation.
Video recorded by Keren Manor, a member of the Activestills collective whose work has previously appeared on The Electronic Intifada, proved critical to unraveling Israel’s narrative.
Analysis from Forensic Architecture indicated that Abu al-Qiyan, a Palestinian citizen of Israel, was driving slowly and his vehicle only accelerated after he was shot at by police, suggesting he had lost control of his car.
Leaked details from Abu al-Qiyan’s autopsy report “suggested that the bullet had crushed al-Qiyan’s right leg, which controlled the accelerator and brake pedals, suggesting our theory that the acceleration of his vehicle was the result of gunfire,” according to Forensic Architecture. A second bullet hit Abu al-Qiyan in the chest, and “led to his death from loss of blood.”
Israel’s official narrative soon fell apart, but Forensic Architecture “wanted to understand better what had happened in the moments leading to Abu al-Qiyan’s death.”'
Read more: Two deaths and one big lie
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18 September 2019
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