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Ahmed Erakat, Cousin of Human Rights Attorney Noura Erakat, Shot Dead by Israeli Soldiers

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Israeli police have shot and killed Ahmed Erakat, a relative of prominent Palestinian politician Saeb Erakat at Occupied West Bank, leaving him to bleed out for more than an hour. Saeb Erakat, the secretary of the PLO’s executive committee, condemned Ahmed’s killing, and held Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accountable.

“Ahmed Erakat (26) was murdered in cold blood at the Wadi Al Nar road block, by Israeli occupying forces. They continue their lies and claim he tried to run over the soldiers. Netanyahu is responsible,” the Palestinian politician said on Twitter. According to relatives, Ahmed Erekat was running errands or his family on the day of his sister’s wedding when he was killed.

Israeli officials claim Erekat was driving “too quickly” towards an Israeli police officer before being shot dead in response. They have not released any security video that can help clarify whether Erekat posed a threat or explained why he was not allowed medical attention after being mortally wounded. Erekat’s family say the claim that he deliberately attacked anyone is completely out of character, and makes no sense given he was looking forward to the family occasion.

The brutal murder of Ahmed Erekat and every other Palestinian who has died at the hands of Israeli soldiers showcases what occupation is like in Palestine. Erekat’s murder embodies the meaning of militarized occupation. It has a power to turn a wedding party into a funeral.

Senior Palestinian official Hanan Ashrawi called on the international community to take “concrete steps” to hold Israel accountable over Ahmad’s death. “Israel also attempted to slander Ahmad and excuse his murder. It is part of a tragically familiar pattern, where Israel habitually uses false pretexts that are all too familiar now to justify the murder of Palestinians by trigger happy soldiers,” Ahrawi said.

Palestinians and human rights groups have also accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force, or in some cases opening fire at cars that merely lost control. The director of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society in Bethlehem confirmed that a soldier prevented Palestinian medical personnel from approaching the man, leaving him and to bleed, Palestinian news agency Wafa reported.

Erekat’s cousin, Noura Erakat, who is a human rights attorney and assistant professor at Rutgers University, accused Israeli authorities of letting Ahmed bleed out, after footage emerged of him bleeding on the ground as a border police officer nearly steps over him, but declines to offer medical help.

“Ahmed Erekat, 27, beautiful young man. A son. A brother. Fiancée. My baby cousin,” she then wrote on Twitter, sharing his photos. “Israeli cowards shot him multiple times, left him to bleed for 1.5 hours and blamed him for his death. Tonight was his sister’s wedding, his was next month. We failed to protect him. I am so sorry,” she wrote.

Many other innocent Palestinians have died under similar circumstances. These people’s deaths have not been investigated, and have often been lied about, claiming the victims behaved combatively.

The brutal murder of Ahmed Erekat and every other Palestinian who has died at the hands of Israeli soldiers showcases what occupation is like in Palestine. Erekat’s murder embodies the meaning of militarized occupation. It has a power to turn a wedding party into a funeral.

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