Skip to main content

'A license to kill': No punishment for Israeli who shot mentally ill Palestinian citizen

Mustafa Younis, a 26-year-old from the Palestinian town of Ara, was diagnosed with psychiatric impairment before the incident in May 2020
Palestinian citizens of Israel and Mustafa Younis's family carrying his picture and calling for justice (Social media)

Israel's public prosecution on Monday closed an investigation into the May 2020 killing of Mustafa Younis, a mentally ill Palestinian citizen of Israel, concluding that the men who shot him "acted in accordance with the procedures".

Younis, a 26-year-old from the Palestinian town of Ara in Israel, was diagnosed with psychiatric impairment before the incident.

He was shot dead by a guard at the entrance of the Sheba Medical Center, Israel's largest hospital. The guard accused him of attempting to stab another security guard.

The Public Prosecution said it has examined all the circumstances leading to the shooting and killing of Younis and found that the security guards "acted in accordance with the procedures", adding that what happened was a "terrorist attack".

West Bank: Scores of Palestinians injured in settler attacks after fatal shooting
Read More »

Younis's family has appealed the closure of the probe, denouncing the decision as "a license to kill" Palestinian citizens of Israel.

On 13 May 2020, Younis arrived at Sheba Medical Center with his mother to undergo psychological therapy. He was shot and died on the spot outside the hospital, close to his mother.

Video footage of the incident went viral on social media.

It was followed 17 days later by another killing of a Palestinian with disabilities that also caused an uproar.

Iyad al-Halak, a 32-year-old autistic Palestinian, was shot by a police officer while going to a special needs school in occupied East Jerusalem's Old City on 30 May 2020.

In July, Israeli prosecutors charged the border police officer with "reckless manslaughter" over the killing of Halak, who was unarmed, an incident that ignited nationwide protests against police brutality.

The officer, who remains unidentified in the indictment submitted to the Jerusalem District Court on Thursday, could face up to 12 years in prison if convicted.

According to accounts at the time, Halak was shot after running away and failing to heed calls to stop. Two border police officers then chased him into a waste storage area and shot him as he cowered next to a bin.

Israeli forces are often accused of extra-judicial killings of Palestinians who they say have tried to attack Israelis. Often, the killings are caught on camera.

Most recently, on 4 December, Israeli security forces shot dead a wounded Palestinian man in East Jerusalem as he lay on the ground. Video footage of the incident also showed the Palestinian apparently attacking an Israeli passerby before he was shot.