Hebron shooting: Lawyer claims suspect fired in defense
Jerusalem court remands for additional four days a Kiryat Arba resident suspected of shooting two Palestinians after eviction of disputed Hebron house, but says Palestinians also at fault. Police representative: Brauda's aim was to cause an entire population to rise up against us
The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Sunday remanded Ze'ev Brauda, the Kiryat Arba resident suspected of shooting two Palestinians after the eviction of the disputed house in West Bank city of Hebron, for an additional four days.
The court accepted the police's position that the act constituted a provocation.
"There is no doubt that the events the suspect was allegedly involved in are very severe and are indicative of the tension between the Jewish and Arab residents of the Kiryat Arba and Hebron area," judge Malka Aviv said in her ruling.
Referring to the video that documented the incident, Aviv said "the suspect can be seen veering off the trail he was supposed to walk on and confronting the local face to face. At a certain point the suspect pushes and strikes (the Palestinian)."
However, the judge said the Palestinians were partly at fault for what had transpired. "There are a number of question marks regarding the behavior of the (Palestinians) who were allegedly shot by the suspect, as they can be seen (in the video) getting up and continuing to throw stones at him," she said.
"In their behavior the Palestinians contributed greatly to the incident's grave consequences."
Police representative Daniel Toledano told the court that Brauda "headed toward the Ja'abri family home for no other reason but to provoke them. He turned to the Palestinian with gun in hand. The family members stepped out of the house and asked him to leave, but he refused and proceeded to open fire on the first Palestinian and then on the father who tries to contain him.
"His aim was to cause an entire population to rise up against us," the officer said, "this is a blatant violation of the law."
Ze'ev Brauda at hearing on Sunday (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
Brauda and the second suspect, Gabi Bibi, turned themselves in to police in Hebron Saturday night. Defense Minister Ehud Barak turned to Attorney General Menachem Mazuz and asked that law authorities move forward quickly with the investigation, so that the legal establishment could use the full might of the law against the suspects should this be called for.
Brauda's attorney, Ariel Atari, said that "the fact that the defense minister (Ehud Barak) interfered in this case is outrageous. All he is interested in is using innocent men to propel his campaign. My client was simply defending himself.
"As my client was walking down the wadi he noticed the Palestinians approaching him with large stones, so he pulled out his gun and asked that they let him pass. One of the Arabs came close and my client backed away. Then three more Arabs holding large rocks surrounded him, at which point he shot two bullets above the shoulders of two of the Palestinians," Atari said.
"Then the Palestinians pushed him, threw him to the ground, jumped on him and hurled stones. He was evacuated to the hospital and required 36 stitches on his head."
Brauda's wife Rachel said following the court's ruling "My husband took the shortest way to look for our son after we had heard of the eviction of the disputed house. The next time I saw my husband was at the hospital. He called from the ambulance and said he opened fired because he was scared to death after the Palestinians surrounded him."
Attorney Atari said the second suspect "arrived at the scene to assist in Brauda's rescue. This arrest is very peculiar."