Israeli forces shoot, wound deaf Palestinian at checkpoint

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli security guards yesterday shot and wounded a Palestinian who is deaf and could not hear their commands to stop at a West Bank checkpoint, police said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the 60-year-old man was walking in an area of the Kalandia Crossing north of Jerusalem where only vehicles are permitted. Rosenfeld said security guards called upon the man to stop but he continued to “approach them suspiciously”.

They then opened fire toward his legs, moderately wounding him. Only after did the guards discover that the suspect did not respond because he “cannot hear or communicate”, Rosenfeld said.

The incident comes less than three months after Israeli police shot and killed a 32-year-old Palestinian with severe autism. The man was chased by Israeli border police forces into a nook in Jerusalem’s Old City and fatally shot him as he cowered next to a garbage bin after apparently being mistaken for an attacker.

The shooting sparked great criticism and calls for police to amend their open fire guidelines to take into consideration those with disabilities.

Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups have long accused Israeli security forces of using excessive force in some cases.

Arab lawmaker Heba Yazbak said yesterday’s incident exposed trigger-happy Israeli forces.