West Bank: Brother of Palestinian killed in Hawara seeks answers

April 23, 2023  -BBC News- The family of a Palestinian man, killed during a riot by settlers in the occupied West Bank, say they were unable to report his death to police, and relied on Israeli media reports to trigger an investigation.

Sameh al-Aqtash was shot outside his home near Hawara in February, after a crowd of Israeli settlers and soldiers gathered at the perimeter fence of the nearby Palestinian village of Zaatara.

His brother, Rashdan, said the family had tried twice to report his death to the Israeli authorities in the days after the killing, but were turned away.

Israeli police opened an investigation after media reports highlighted the family’s difficulty in reporting the death.

Rashdan al-Aqtash said the residents of Zaatara – all part of the al-Aqtash extended family – were unarmed when confronted by the crowd of settlers on 26 February.

“They started throwing stones, and we pelted them with stones as well while shouting ‘Allah is Great’,” he said.

“In situations like this, the army usually fire tear gas to disperse people, and then rubber bullets, and finally they fire into the air. This time, they started firing live ammunition directly into the people.”

It took 40 minutes to get Sameh to hospital, he says, because roads were blocked. He was pronounced dead on arrival.

The family said they first tried to report his death to the military liaison office in Hawara, but that officers there had refused to receive them.

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