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Police kill Israeli-Jew near Western Wall after mistaking him for a Palestinian

Israel/Palestine
on 48 Comments
Jerusalem shooting
Scene of Jerusalem shooting. (Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/Jerusalem Post )

This is grim. Earlier today an Israeli-Jewish man in a bathroom near the Western Wall was killed by police after shouting “Allahu akhbar,” God is great. According to police foreign press spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, the guard who killed 46-year-old Doron Ben-Shalush did so because he suspected danger after hearing the two Arabic words near a place that Jews pray, and then unloaded fire. Ben-Shalush was found with 10 bullets in him and died on scene.

From Reuters:

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Ben-Shalush had been pronounced dead at the scene. He said the guard, whose name has not been disclosed, had told investigators he had suspected the man was a Palestinian militant.

‘The fact he shouted Allahu Akbar, that seems to be why the security guard drew his weapon and fired a number of shots at him,’ Rosenfeld said, adding that the incident was still under investigation and there was a gag order on some details.

Rosenfeld added that there is a gag order on some of the circumstances because an investigation is underway. Though, at first glance it is a clear case of mistaken identity/racial profiling: the officer took the Israeli man as Palestinian, and that seemed to warrant enough threat to kill him. This is a very unfortunate end to what was likely a day of either prayer or tourism at the Jewish holy site.

Sadly, this is not the first case of mistaken identity that has led to Israeli-on-Israeli violence. Months ago some Israel Defense Forces milling outside of a settlement were attacked by a Jewish rightist. The soldiers were undercover, dressed as Palestinians, and the costumes fooled the settlers who then descended down a hilltop to attack the presumed Palestinians. It was a snafu. Settlers attacked soldiers, soldiers beat the settlers and in the end many arrests were made.

Less humorously, a Mizrahi-Israeli friend of mine, an Arab Jew of Iraqi background, has numerous tales of being pulled aside and questioned, only to be let go after the police realize his black hair and beard are on the body of the “right” kind of religion. More recently a photographer friend of mine was arrested last month while covering a demonstration in Jerusalem. When the police let him go, they told him his detention was a “mistake.” They thought he was Palestinian.

With such a context of shooting (or hitting, or arresting) first and asking questions later, something as grave as an accidental death was bound to happen. Of course Palestinians themselves are victim to such quick draw patterns, but their deaths seem not to get the same acknowledgment. Notably, earlier this year border police officer Nofar Mizrahi killed Mohammed Salayme, a 17-year old Palestinian, in Hebron, believing him to be armed. In the end Salayme was exonerated as being unarmed. Yet the prideful Mizrahi did not recant her actions. “[I]t didn’t change how I felt about it. I’m happy this ended with no injuries on our side and I’m sure any other officer in my situation would have done what I did,” she said to the Jerusalem Post.

Over the past eight months I have been to the funerals of six Palestinians. One was a friend who passed due to disease, but the others all had their lives cut short for ridiculous incidents like today’s murder. I have watched a family bury the body of a teenager whose violent death came after he was judged to be horsing around too close to the security barrier.

I don’t know why Ben-Shalush cried “Allahu akhbar,” but I’ll go out on a limb and say I don’t think he expected a response as if he were a bank robber. But really, it’s not that he was treated like a bank robber, he was treated much worse. Like a racialized other, like a Palestinian.
 

Allison Deger
About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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48 Responses

  1. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    June 21, 2013, 4:25 pm

    Israel tactic – Shoot first, ask later.

    • Mndwss
      Mndwss
      June 21, 2013, 5:01 pm

      Israel tactic:

      Shoot first, send flowers if the victim was Jewish…

      If he is not Jewish- shoot at the people trying to bury the victim…

  2. seafoid
    seafoid
    June 21, 2013, 4:26 pm

    Jesus Christ. They killed an ISRAELI. What a tragedy.

    He would have been asking for it if he had been a Palestinian but 1 million Arabs aren’t worth one Jewish fingernail and the deceased had TEN Jewish fingernails.

    Obviously the policeman’s house should be demolished.
    There should be an NRA good guy in every school. And guns don’t kill people. Policemen kill Jews. They are worse than Khamas. It isn’t even safe in Erez Israel OMG. They should go to Israel immediately even if they get shot. It is better than marrying a shiksa in Galut .

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      June 21, 2013, 4:59 pm

      You can bet that right at this moment, they’re trying to find a way to blame this on Palestinians. I practically guarantee it.

      BTW I can find very little mention of this in the mainstream press. Of course, when an Israeli kills a Palestinian, it’s barely mentioned either, but can you imagine if a Palestinian pumped 10 bullets into an Israeli – any Israeli? It’d be all over the headlines, Obama would have made a statement and we’d be reading opinion pieces about how Arabs just hate Jews. But this story is hard to explain away, so the response is silence.

      • seafoid
        seafoid
        June 22, 2013, 1:51 am

        I bet the Allahu Akbar part is made up.

        It is actually a very sad story . He was unwell and he was killed because in Israel they shoot first and mostly don’t ask questions

        http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/security-guard-shoots-kills-jewish-israeli-man-at-western-wall-1.531167

        “The incident took place at about 7:30 A.M., when hundreds of worshippers were attending the morning prayers at the Kotel. David Dahan, who witnessed the incident, was with Ben-Shloosh just seconds before he was shot. “This was a guy who volunteered at the Chabad soup kitchen located above the Wall. He used to prepare the meals there”, said Dahan. “Everyone there knew him – the cops, security guards, the regular worshippers. He had long hair and did not wear a kippa. He was burdened with some heavy loads. I finished my prayers this morning and was having coffee on the plaza across from the Wall. He came to sit beside me holding a newspaper.
        He started leafing through it, looking for an article about the Mossad. He then started cursing the Mossad. Just then a police officer passed by, but since everyone knew him no one took him seriously.” Dahan described Ben-Shloosh as “possessed by internal turmoil.”
        “He got up to go to the bathroom, 20 meters away. All of a sudden I heard gunfire, about 7 to 10 shots. Everyone was in shock. Then the policemen started running in that direction.” According to Dahan, who works as the coordinator of social organizations at the Knesset, the victim suffered a lot from being homeless. “He was a verbally aggressive man, but he thought that everyone understood that that’s him.”
        Magen David Adom emergency services said that they received a call at 7:30 A.M. “When we got there we saw a man lying on the path which leads from the Wall plaza to the Jewish quarter, hit by several bullets,” said the paramedics who treated him. “He was unconscious with no pulse, and was no longer breathing. We tried to resuscitate him but his injuries were too severe so we had to determine his death.” Zeev Hefetz, a paramedic who reached the scene said that he was hit multiple times and showed no signs of life.”

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        June 22, 2013, 10:00 am

        Israel also has an army of killer dogs trained to attack any person saying the Arabic phrase of ‘Allahu Akbar’:

        also:
        http://www.haaretz.com/news/are-idf-dogs-trained-to-pounce-all-who-say-god-is-great-in-arabic-1.260788

        Any doubt now that israeli army personnel are also trained to shoot at any person calling out ‘Allahu Akbar’?

        Folks, the problem with using ‘Allahu Akbar’ as trigger for deadly bestial attacks, is that the phrase is used by everyone to express the good, the bad and the miraculous. It’s not only psycho jihadists that use it to announce their wanton slaughter. The target in inclusive also of christian and druze arabs who use the phrase regularly/daily.

        Did the nazis train their german shepherds to attack soon as they hear a common yiddish phrase? If the nazis never did that, then israel has gone one notch above the nazis on the evilometer scales.

  3. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    June 21, 2013, 4:34 pm

    Robert De Niro must love this, he loves israel(is?) aggressiveness.

    http://www.timesofisrael.com/tough-guy-de-niro-likes-tough-israel

    • Tuyzentfloot
      Tuyzentfloot
      June 22, 2013, 4:52 am

      Incidentally, when I read about the shooting I instantly thought of a scene from the movie Goodfellas. But Joe Pesci was doing the shooting there.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        June 22, 2013, 8:38 am

        Pesci, shooting the young waiter in the legs as a joke, to entertain the good fellas sitting around the table with him.

      • Tuyzentfloot
        Tuyzentfloot
        June 22, 2013, 11:16 am

        Actually I was thinking about the followup scene where he kills the waiter , to the dismay of everyone else, including De Niro.

        To be a little more fair, if someone has had it drilled into him/her that every Palestinian can be a terrorist and when a terrorist intends to blow himself up you have to be very fast to stop that from happening, then you’ll also have incidents like this. You still need the kind of person who has a very low threshold for shooting though.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        June 22, 2013, 11:41 am

        Agree completely. The blame for this goes well beyond the individual who fired the gun. If you’re raised in a culture which tells you that certain people are inherently of less value than others, and that if you kill one of these less valuable beings there will be no consequences for your actions, then something like this was just waiting to happen.

  4. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius
    June 21, 2013, 4:35 pm

    This just proves what we’ve all been saying for ages: that Israeli ‘security’ officials kill Palestinians on the flimsiest of pretexts, and get away with it. When the victims are mere Palestinians, of course, it’s all hushed up and we’re fed a story about how the ‘terrorist’ ‘threatened the police’ or some such nonsense. Then we’re told that an ‘investigation’ will take place which, of course, will exonerate the killers. Now that the dead man is a precious Israeli Jew, however, perhaps the ‘investigation’ will be more worthy of the name, and that the ‘security official’ will have to pay for his actions. Then again, in a culture which sees nothing wrong with shooting first and asking questions later – provided they’re shooting at mere Palestinians – you can’t place all the blame on the killer himself. It’s the whole society that’s fupped up.

  5. seafoid
    seafoid
    June 21, 2013, 4:37 pm

    10 bullets. They really have a city of peace over there and racial harmony is going really well under the bots, obviously.

    Trigger happy. But usually it doesn’t matter. It’s only Aravim.

  6. frankier
    frankier
    June 21, 2013, 4:59 pm

    This is, of course, a tragedy. We do not know the victim, but ending a human life, any human life, is always a tragedy.

    The hope is that this episode will be a trigger in the Israeli collective and bring the Israeli public closer to realizing what kind of society their policies and posture have created and, hopefully, starting to change course towards a peaceful coexistence under the umbrella of a one-truly-democratic state encompassing ALL the people leaving on the land between the Jordan river and the sea. Everything else is demagoguery as there is really no other alternative.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      June 21, 2013, 5:17 pm

      “We do not know the victim, but ending a human life, any human life, is always a tragedy.”

      No it isn’t. For example, the world became a better place when Eichmann’s life was ended.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        June 22, 2013, 8:42 am

        I would have preferred Eichmann was merely jailed for life, and made to explain in writing why he did what he did in his career. Then his thinking could have been put under a microscope, and some could know, learn the everyday details behind his banality. Food for introspection. Also, the way he was nabbed and whisked away to Israel set a precedent, didn’t it?

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        June 22, 2013, 1:01 pm

        Not me. I bave no problem with the equation that if there is overwhelming evidence that you personally facilitated the murder of millions of innocent people that, in return, you’re forced to take a dirt nap. Good riddance.

        And I think that the value of such memiors would be minimal, at most. Certainly not worth the expense (moral & otherwise) of keeping such a person alive.

        Finally, Argentina was satisfied with the resolution of the event. That’s good enough for me.

      • frankier
        frankier
        June 22, 2013, 1:51 pm

        @ Woody Tanaka –
        Would the “facilitation” of misery and subhuman living conditions for millions of people be somewhat equivalent to murdering them? Some people may think so. Some people may think it is even worse. If so, would you consider “forcing a dirt nap” on the “facilitators”?

      • Woody Tanaka
        Woody Tanaka
        June 22, 2013, 6:36 pm

        No, it’s not the same thing. Those people, which you write about, are those for whom life in prison is appropriate.

      • Ecru
        Ecru
        June 23, 2013, 8:42 am

        ….his thinking could have been put under a microscope, and some could know, learn the everyday details behind his banality….

        I think this must have happened and the resulting book became the basis of the IDF training manual.

    • American
      American
      June 21, 2013, 5:49 pm

      frankie says:
      June 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm
      The hope is that this episode will be a trigger in the Israeli collective and bring the Israeli public closer to realizing what kind of society their policies and posture have created ”>>>>>

      The tragedy is that probably wont happen…have you ever seen the zionist adherents accept responsibility for anything?….. I haven’t.
      No. They will say if it wasn’t for the nasty Palestines the man wouldn’t have been mistaken for a terrier and shot.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        June 21, 2013, 6:12 pm

        If it’s true, as reported below, that the shooter was not a Jew but a Druze, an excuse has been handed to them on a plate. Not that they’d find long to look for one, had one not presented itself so very conveniently.

  7. Woody Tanaka
    Woody Tanaka
    June 21, 2013, 5:03 pm

    10 that hit him and who the heck knows how many of them missed… What kind of people are the israelis if they’re going to give a weapon to someone who unloads a clip in a guy for yelling?

  8. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius
    June 21, 2013, 5:05 pm

    ”Less humorously, a Mizrahi-Israeli friend of mine, an Arab Jew of Iraqi background, has numerous tales of being pulled aside and questioned, only to be let go after the police realize his black hair and beard are on the body of the “right” kind of religion”

    I believe something similar happened to Yigal Amir, the Jewish Israeli who assassinated Rabin. The security at the rally were initially suspicious of him because he was ‘dark’ (and therefore looked ‘Arab’?) but when they discovered that he was Jewish, they no longer considered him suspect. And while all Arab males were searched, Jews were allowed to walk in.

    But Israel is not a racist state, mind you.

  9. Justpassingby
    Justpassingby
    June 21, 2013, 5:34 pm

    Sums up israel tactic fine, using overwhelming violence when there is no need for it.

  10. ToivoS
    ToivoS
    June 21, 2013, 5:50 pm

    Richard Silverstein has more details on this case. The victim was a mentally ill homeless man that worked at Chabad soup kitchen. He often talked to himself and would mutter insults at the Mossad. Israelis are off the hook on this one. The shooter was not a Jew, but a Druze. So it is an Arab kills a Jew story. I was surprised when it was announced that the guard was arrested so this explains that strange fact.

    • Woody Tanaka
      Woody Tanaka
      June 21, 2013, 6:37 pm

      “Israelis are off the hook on this one.”

      Who was that okayed giving this guy a gun?? That person should be on the dock, too, for gross stupidity.

    • just
      just
      June 21, 2013, 6:40 pm

      Twas strange indeed. Thanks for the explanation, Toivo.

      Don’t think the Israelis are “off the hook”, though.

  11. just
    just
    June 21, 2013, 6:38 pm

    A man in a bathroom yells “God is great” and he is murdered.

    This makes sense how? If the Zionists proclaim that God gave them other peoples lands and they are allowed to occupy, oppress, torture, thieve, terrorize and murder…………. then I guess the Zionist God is greatest.

    Aren’t there Muslims living in Israel? Do Zionists view all of their fellow citizens as terrorists? Perhaps this murdered gentleman just had a satisfactory meditation whilst on the toilet.

  12. kayq
    kayq
    June 21, 2013, 10:52 pm

    …yet somehow killing Palestinians is okay? Hey, this is the true face of Israel.

  13. iResistDe4iAm
    iResistDe4iAm
    June 21, 2013, 11:45 pm

    I wonder if Israel will declare this act of murder as an “act of terror”. Of course such a declaration has the following objectives:
    1. to enable compensation for the family of the Jewish victim
    2. to inflate the statistics on terrorism

    Here’s a previous example of Israel murdering an Israeli Jew who was mistaken for a Palestinian:
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4146965,00.html

  14. piotr
    piotr
    June 22, 2013, 5:04 am

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4146864,00.html
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4351795,00.html
    This is a case of a settler leader shot dead at an improvised checkpoint, and a whitewash investigation.

    The investigation did not address a central point, namely if the “command to stop” was visible.

  15. amigo
    amigo
    June 22, 2013, 7:26 am

    He thought the guy was a Palestinian so he is not guilty of any crime.

    Zionist logic at work here.

    • just
      just
      June 22, 2013, 8:50 am

      Poor man should have been less worried about Mossad and more worried about police and the IOF– maybe all three.

      A man with a gun and a state sanctioned uniform riddled the body of a mentally challenged Jewish man– there’s no “pass”. I would recommend that the Zionists examine what tattered soul that they might have left.

      (btw– some Jewish Mizrahi and Christian Arabs refer to God as “Allah”.)

  16. amigo
    amigo
    June 22, 2013, 12:07 pm

    The Irish Times reported this story as such.

    “He mistook the victim for a “Palestinian Terrorist”.

    Even the Irish times has a Zionist reporting from hasbara central.Namely , Mark Weiss.He is thought to be an illegal settler but we can find no proof.

    • Xpat
      Xpat
      June 22, 2013, 11:12 pm

      I had a neighbor in my building in Jerusalem, named Mark Weiss, who was a reporter with Israel Radio and various foreign outlets. Formerly British. This Mark Weiss is not a settler.

  17. EUR1069
    EUR1069
    June 22, 2013, 1:25 pm

    What do you expect? The whole Zionist Geopolitical Experiment (a/k/a Israel) was borne from, & continues to live by pathological paranoia lapsing into rabidly aggressive behavior.

  18. Denis
    Denis
    June 23, 2013, 10:29 am

    This incident raises the question as to whether the Israelis are coming unglued faster than the Americans. There must be some sort of law in sociology that says the rate that social glue melts is proportional to the number of firearms in the society. Waaay too many guns in this world, and too many sweaty trigger fingers.

    Allison, I would ask you to reconsider just one word in your post: “sadly” in the third paragraph. I don’t see anything sad about vicious Israelis tearing into each other. I chuckled.

    It looks like you did, too, because you start the fourth paragraph with “Less humorously”.

    • annie
      annie
      June 23, 2013, 11:27 am

      you start the fourth paragraph with “Less humorously”.

      i’ve begun to accept there are generally lots of gems tucked into allison’s writing. for this reason i don’t ever rush thru her reports, instead i like to read them really slowly and savor them. often just sublte phrasings..like this:

      the officer took the Israeli man as Palestinian, and that seemed to warrant enough threat to kill him.

    • EUR1069
      EUR1069
      June 23, 2013, 11:29 am

      Not sure the issue the number of firearms available is valid tho. It is rather the trigger-happy culture & the drive to harm others at will that matters – definitely applies to the ZGE (a/k/a Israel) as the above incident so abundantly illustrates.
      NB: Switzerland is #3 in the world in per-capita gun ownership, after the U.S. & Yemen (LOL), yet no one ever gets hurt.

  19. yaeli
    yaeli
    June 25, 2013, 3:40 pm

    Oh man. How’s the crow taste?

    Druze shooter.

    Multiple run-ins with the victim.

    waiting on the retraction.Any.second.now.

    • annie
      annie
      June 25, 2013, 4:04 pm

      Druze shooter.

      Multiple run-ins with the victim.

      huh? got link?

    • Cliff
      Cliff
      June 25, 2013, 4:34 pm

      Retraction of what?

    • eljay
      eljay
      June 25, 2013, 6:00 pm

      >> Oh man. How’s the crow taste?

      To the dead man, there’s no taste at all. He’s dead, a crime has been committed and the person responsible for the crime must be held accountable.

      Same thing applies to the crime that is the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State”: The people who were, are and continue to be responsible must be held accountable.

      Zio-supremacists have a very hard time with that. :-(

  20. AlGhorear
    AlGhorear
    June 25, 2013, 5:06 pm

    @annie “got link?”

    Ynet here

    and

    Tablet here

  21. eljay
    eljay
    June 25, 2013, 5:13 pm

    >> huh? got link?

    From this article:

    The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court has released the name of the security guard who shot and killed Doron Ben-Shloosh last Friday at the Western Wall Plaza. The security guard is Hadi Kablan, a former Border Patrol officer, from the Druze village Beit Jann. The court extended Kablan’s remand until Sunday, he faces possible murder charges.

    During the hearing on Tuesday, it was revealed that the two men had an encounter prior to the shooting. During the investigation, Kablan admitted that he had met Ben-Shloosh before the shooting, and the two had an argument. Ben-Shloosh apparently cursed Kablan, due to his Druze ethnicity.

    • ToivoS
      ToivoS
      June 25, 2013, 8:21 pm

      From those who knew the victim at the Chabad facility he was described as someone who often talked to himself angrily against ‘Mossad’ or the ‘establishment’ but no one ever felt threatened by him.

  22. yaeli
    yaeli
    June 26, 2013, 12:56 am

    The other huge failure with this article. Oh wait, here’s another: “he suspected danger after hearing the two Arabic words near a place that Jews pray”. Cause as a native Arab speaker, the Druze who shot him would just panic when he heard Arabic and unload 10 bullets. Obvs.

    Title is: “after mistaking him for a Palestinian” What is that!? “Palestinians” don’t yell “God is great” and reach into their pocket (a detail in other early reports of this situation, which you conveniently ignore). You know who do that? Terrorists who call themselves Muslims. So, dear author, you equate all Palestinians for Muslim terrorists? Despicable.

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