We were disappointed but not surprised by the reactions of some Arab MKs to the shooting death of Palestinian Mohammed Shawkat Salameh by two border police officers at the Damascus Gate last Saturday.
As well as we can piece things together from news reports, Salameh repeatedly stabbed and wounded a Jewish Israeli civilian and then lunged at the two Israeli border police officers responding to the attack. The officers shot at him, knocking him to the ground, and subsequently shot him three more times, killing him while he was still moving on the ground. The whole episode lasted approximately 30 seconds.
Seems to us like the clearest case of police doing their job, particularly by making sure that the assailant could cause no further harm. Yet Esawi Frej, a left-wing Arab minister in Israel’s government, which includes factions from across the political spectrum, said the shooting should be investigated as a possible extra-judicial killing: “Assailants must be shot to save human life, not to have their own lives taken when they no longer pose a threat.”
MK Ahmed Tibi, an Arab citizen of Israel, called the incident “a cold blooded execution“ of an injured man “who presented no danger to anyone.”
The time frame involved means that these reactions could only have been visceral and not factually based. So forgive us if we question where the loyalties of these esteemed statesmen lie.