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  • Max Hyman

Police Murder of George Floyd, Iyad Halak.

This week, an Israeli police shooting of a severely autistic Palestinian man drew comparisons with George Floyd's murder in America from the international community. In news that has compelled many to join a Palestinian Lives Matter movement with as much passion as BLM in the US, Iyad Halak was shot on Saturday. Halak was unarmed and his caregiver, Warda Abu Hadid, had repeatedly warned officers he was disabled before they opened fire. Hadid shouted repeatedly in Hebrew, "He's disabled, disabled. Wait a moment, take his ID card, check his ID." Police saw a "suspicious object that looked like a pistol," (it was not) and, as they began shouting, he became confused and fled to hide. Halak died of his wounds, and his death has since become a symbol of Israeli police brutality.

Palestinian, Israeli, and US activists have brought the even to the attention of the world as similar neglect for the lives of Palestinian and African American people in Israel and the US respectively. Small protests in Israel and Palestine since Saturday have popped up, and photos of Israeli police and army officers kneeling on the necks of arrested Palestinian men in the same fashion as Floyd's murder. The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy shared a drawing on twitter of the two men side by side, saying "Iyad and George were victims of similar systems of supremacy and oppression. They must be dismantled."

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu did not even MENTION the occurrence at a cabinet meeting. A leading Israeli human rights group said justice was unlikely with the past record of prosecution of Israeli police. Investigations into killings of over 200 Palestinians by the army during the past nine years resulted in only three soldiers being convicted. One of the most prominent anti-occupation voices in Israel, Gideon Levy, said there was little hope for an impartial investigation. There is even less hope, according to Levy and many others, that this would lead to any meaningful change in Israel and Palestinian. As rightfully pointed out by critics of Israeli government, existing law enforcement in Israel is designed to protect perpetrators of such violence and does no such thing for the victims.

If "the Israeli border police are no less brutal or racist than the police in the United States," how do we learn nothing about it in school? While racial injustice in America might be more immediate, the fact that it is often ignored is disgusting, especially as it clearly has similar intensity as social problems in America. In Haaretz newspaper, the fact that differences might outweigh similarities in the situations is saddening. "There [America], they shoot black people, whose blood is cheap, and in Israel they shoot Palestinians, whose blood is even cheaper. But here [Israel], the killing puts us to sleep; there it sparks protest." No arrests have yet been made for police officers; the same cannot be said about George Floyd's murder here. As you continue on your day, consider this. Our goal is to educate you about these issues, but that does no good if you ignore horrors like this. Sign the petition. Please.

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