On Friday, 23 September 2011, Asher Hillel Palmer and his one-year-old son Yonatan, residents of the Kiryat Arba settlement, were killed when their car overturned on Route 60, near the West Bank village of Halhul. Initially, it was reported they died in a car accident. Two days later, the Israel Police stated that, based on their investigation at the scene and the results of a CT scan taken of the father’s head, they believed the car had overturned after a stone, which had been hurled at it, smashed through the windshield and struck the father in the head. The police suspect that the perpetrators were Palestinians.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said that an investigation of the incident by Central Command had determined that stones had not been thrown at the vehicle from the side of the road, but that, in light of additional findings, stones may have been thrown from a passing vehicle. The SHAI District Israel Police is investigating the incident. According to press reports, the perpetrators have not been apprehended.
This is not the first time that stone throwing has resulted in death in the West Bank. Over the past decade, B'Tselem has documented two other cases of this kind:
- On 14 November 2000, Mustafa Alyan, 47, a resident of the ‘Askar refugee camp in Nablus District, was killed when he was hit in the chest by a rock thrown at the car in which he was riding.
- On 6 June 2001, Yehuda Shoham, an infant from the settlement of Shilo, was killed when struck in the head by a rock hurled by a Palestinian. He died a week later.
It goes without saying that intentional attacks on civilians are a crime and the police must act to bring the perpetrators to justice, in accordance with due process and protection of the suspects’ rights.