Israeli Arab leaders have demanded that the police not investigate the death of the Jewish gunman who killed four Arabs last week.
The gunman, Eden Natan-Zada, an AWOL Israeli soldier, was murdered by an Arab mob after he shot and killed the driver of the bus he was on, as well as three passengers. Twelve people were wounded in the August 4 attack.
One August 6, the Arab leaders, after a meeting of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, issued their demand that Natan-Zada’s death not be probed.
On Sunday night, a day after the meeting of the Arab leaders, Israel’s Channel 10 aired video footage showing that Natan-Zada had been disarmed and handcuffed by police officers before he was lynched to death by an angry mob. Photographs published by the Arab language newspaper Al-Sinara also show a living, albeit badly beaten, Natan-Zada in handcuffs.
A court injunction was issued following the broadcast, forbidding publication of any further information that might interfere with the police investigation.
The effort to block an exploration of the mob killing was criticized by Ha’aretz in an August 9 editorial.
“No country in which the law is properly enforced would permit an incident in which people take the law into their own hands to be ignored without investigating the circumstances and those involved, and agree in advance to withhold charges against suspects in a crime,” the newspaper stated. “The claim that an investigation of this nature might cause tempers in the town to flare up is not acceptable. The police, as a matter of course, detained and interrogated Jewish youths involved at the end of June in the attempted lynching of a young Palestinian resident of Muasi in Gaza. There is also the instance of Yoram Skolnik, who was convicted in April 1994 of murdering a bound Arab and sentenced to imprisonment. The same law that applies to Jewish transgressors in the territories must be applied, in a country where law prevails, to Arabs who break the law in Shfaram.”