Friday, 2 December 2011

Private security guards kill with impunity in East Jerusalem

A photo of Samer Sarhan, killed by a settler security guard in 2010, is held by one of his six children. (Mahfouz Abu Turk/APA images)

SILWAN, occupied East Jerusalem - Ahmed Qaraeen walks with a limp, more than two years after he was shot twice, in the hip and left knee, by an Israeli settler near his home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

“It was Ramadan,” Qaraeen said, his grey crutch leaning against the wall behind him. “I was sleeping in my house and I heard people shouting in the street. I went out and saw a settler point his M-16 [machine gun] at my son.”

The 41-year-old father of two said that he was shot in full view of private security guards, who were employed by Israeli settlers in Silwan, shortly after he confronted the settler who had threatened his child.

“I fell down and people started shouting around me. I was bleeding, and my two children were at my side, crying,” Qaraeen said. “The settler guards were there. They saw what happened, everything, but they did nothing. They’re here to protect the settlers, not to protect us.”

According to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), 350 private Israeli security guards are currently employed in East Jerusalem by private security firm Modi’in Ezrahi, which is subcontracted by the Israeli Ministry of Housing and Construction.

The guards’ stated purpose is to protect approximately 2,000 Jewish-Israeli settlers living in East Jerusalem from the Palestinian population of the area. more