Home Archive 27/March/2018 11:33 AM

Israeli courts cover up murder by Jewish settlers - the case of Mahmoud Odeh


By Bassam Abu al-Rub

NABLUS, March 27, 2018 (WAFA) – When  the family of Mahmoud Za’al Odeh heard that the Israeli military prosecution has decided not to indict two Israeli Jewish settlers for killing Odeh in December, they were shocked.

Odeh, 46, from the town of Qusra, to the south of the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank, was working in his land when two settlers shot him from a distance of 40 meters and killed him. The settlers claimed it was in self-defense after they were attacked with stones.

Odeh’s son, Awad, who was with his father when he was shot, was flabbergasted when he heard the ruling. He couldn’t find the words to explain his feelings about the injustice done to his father and family. He merely said: “The courts, the settlers, the army… all are in collaboration.”

Awad, 23, told WAFA that he and his father went on a Monday morning to their land to do some planting. An hour later, he went back home to bring breakfast and the rest of the family.

“Once I got home, my father called me and said he was being attacked by settlers,” he said. “I told village residents that an argument happened between my father and a couple of settlers who was asking my father to leave the land.”

Awad said that his father refused to leave the land. He just had to keep planting and taking care of his land, which is something he did on a daily basis.

The settlers then shot the first bullet in the air after Odeh persisted on not leaving his land. Then, and from a distance of 40 meters, the settlers shot another bullet, which killed Odeh.

“My father never attacked the settlers with stones, as the Israeli authorities claimed,” Awad insisted.

Abdul-Azim Wadi, a popular resistance committee activist in Qusra, described the Israeli prosecution’s decision as “racist and extremist.”

“Israel doesn’t charge (Jewish) murderers. The case of Issam Badran, a Palestinian who was killed by Israel in 2011, was closed because the culprit was unknown,” Wadi said. “Now, the courts claim that Odeh was shot by the settlers who were defending themselves.”

He added that Odeh was one of the best farmers in the village.

“He was working in his land when settlers attacked him. One of them shot him and killed him instantly,” he said.

Wadi said that Israeli forces detained 29 Palestinians from Qusra after Odeh was killed.

“We have copies of the lists of indictments and investigation and not one of them said that Odeh was armed or that he even threw stones at the settlers,” Wadi said. “However, the settler who shot him said that Odeh threw stones at him and the Israeli judge took his word for it.”

Four village residents are still detained, including Wadi’s brother, Ibrahim.

“It’s like Odeh was killed twice. It’s the family’s right to demand that the murderer be charged and getting compensation,” Wadi concluded.

Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, said that the decisions made by Israeli courts to clear murder charges give the settlers the green light to carry out more violent attacks against Palestinians.

“Yesterday, Tayseer al-Nori, from the town of Huwwara, was severely injured after settlers attacked him. He was moved to a Ramallah hospital,” Daghlas said. “This is the second time settlers attack al-Nori while working in his land.”

“Settlers attacks are escalating,” he said. “They attack Palestinians aiming to kill them knowing very well that they will not be prosecuted for their act,” Daghlas concluded.


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