J Street is outraged by the killing of Iyad el-Hallak, an unarmed Palestinian man with special needs, by Israeli police officers.
According to reports, el-Hallak was unable to understand the commands of Israeli officers. Confused and afraid, he hid behind a dumpster, where he was shot to death.
We express our solidarity with non-violent protesters in Israel and the Palestinian territory who took to the streets to demand justice for el-Hallak, many carrying “Palestinian Lives Matter” signs and drawing parallels to the killing of George Floyd.
While the two incidents are distinct, the connections cannot be ignored.
The all-too-frequent instances of police brutality and the regular absence of police accountability in the United States are features of a deeply entrenched system of structural racism.
Within Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, the all-too-frequent instances of violence, arbitrary detention and harassment of Palestinians by security forces and police are a feature of a deeply entrenched occupation.
J Street’s agony over the el-Hallak killing is the heartbreak we feel for every victim of violence in this conflict — Israeli and Palestinian. There have been too many.
Finding our way toward justice and peace — both in Israel/Palestine and in the United States — will not be easy. But that difficult journey toward a solution must start with leadership, transparency and accountability.
We demand justice in the killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and more. But we know that the problem is far deeper, and that true justice in the long run requires dismantling the systemic racism that led to these killings in the first place.
And similarly, while today we call for justice in the killing of Iyad el-Hallak, we recognize that, in the long run, achieving true justice means ending the occupation.