Extrajudicial executions of Palestinians by Israel’s apartheid regime
By Denijal Jegic
Mohammad Shwkat Salima, a 25-year old Palestinian, was shot at point-blank range and killed by Israeli occupation forces in occupied East al-Quds Zionist authorities and much of mainstream media framed him as an attacker. However, the extrajudicial killings of Palestinians on occupied land are part and parcel of the settler-colonial regime’s terror against the indigenous population.
A video of Salima’s assassination by Israeli occupation forces was filmed by bystanders and went viral on the internet. It shows that the young Palestinian did not pose any imminent threat to the heavily armed Israeli occupation personnel. He was shot repeatedly and killed as he lay wounded on the ground.
According to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Israeli occupation forces denied medics access to the site and, thus, Salima could not receive any first aid. Israeli occupation authorities justified the murder, claiming that the assassinated Palestinian had previously tried to stab an Israeli.
Extrajudicial assassinations of Palestinians, including children, by the Israeli regime are not isolated incidents, but part and parcel of the genocidal settler-colonial terror. While the Israeli regime claims to be a democracy, Palestinians are not only subject to brutal military rule, but also excluded from the entity’s legal system.
Palestinians are dehumanized to an extent that they can be killed in cold blood at any time. The justification for the killing of Palestinians is always present in the Zionist narrative, as is the jailing and kidnapping of Palestinians by the apartheid regime.
As part of the broader coercion strategy, in the aftermath of the killing, occupation forces terrorized residents in Salima’s home town of Salfit in the occupied West Bank, raided the home of Salima and arrested his brother.
Media Narratives: Palestinian Attacker and Assailant
While the story seemed newsworthy, much of mainstream media failed to identify the power relations, the colonial nature and the particular illegality of Israel’s actions under international law.
Indeed, in much of the mainstream media, the killing was portrayed as a reaction to the stabbing attempt and within a context of the broader violence in East al-Quds.
News agencies provided headlines such as “Israeli wounded in East al-Quds stabbing, assailant killed”, or “Police kill Palestinian attacker after al-Quds stabbing”, oftentimes categorizing the story under the so-called “Israel-Palestine conflict” within Zionist terms. In an article by Al Jazeera English, based on reports from news agencies, the Palestinian victim is portrayed as an “attacker stabbing Jewish man”.
The article states that Israeli “security” forces shot the Palestinian “after he stabbed an Israeli civilian and tried to attack the police.” The first source to be mentioned is “Israel’s Magen David Adom emergency service”. Similarly, the New York Times opposed the “Palestinian assailant” to the “Israeli civilian”.
This framing and the focus on religion and ethnicity makes it seem as if a dangerous Palestinian decided to kill an innocent Jewish civilian and thus had to be stopped by police. The incident is thus portrayed as a violent hate crime perpetrated by the Palestinian man.