Iconic Palestinian civil resistance figure dies after being rammed by Israeli car

Iconic Palestinian civil resistance figure dies after being rammed by Israeli car
Ten days after being hit by an Israeli settler car, 70-year-old Suleiman al-Hathaleen, an icon of civil resistance in Southern Hebron, has died.
2 min read
West Bank
17 January, 2022
Suleiman al-Hathaleen, 70, was a known figure of Palestinian civil protests [Al-Araby Al-Jadeed]

A Palestinian man in his seventies died on Monday from wounds sustained after he was hit by an Israeli car in early January, the Palestinian health ministry has said.

Suleiman Al-Hathaleen, 70, was severely wounded, two weeks ago, when hit by an Israeli car while taking part in a protest near his home village of Um Al-Khair, in the South Hebron hills.

According to Nidal Younes, the mayor of Masafer Yatta, a conglomeration of Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, Al-Hathaleen was in a critical condition when he was taken to hospital.

Younes told The New Arab: "Al-Hathaleen was taking part in a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoner Hisham Abu Hawash on the main road near his village of Um Al-Khair. An Israeli settler car came driving fast while Al-Hathaleen was trying to block the road, and hit him."

Younes noted that Israeli police in the area at the time didn't stop the vehicle.

Palestinian accounts on social media mourned Al-Hathaleen, who was a known figure of civil protests against Israeli occupation, especially in the Hebron area.

“Al-Hathaleen’s family came to the South Hebron Hills as refugees, after 1948, and made Um Al-Khair their home, where his father bought a piece of land," Hisham Sharabati, a field researcher in the area for human rights group Al-Haq, told The New Arab.

"After the Israeli occupation established the Karmael settlement on part of his family’s land in the 1980s, he became very active in protests against settlements," Sharabati added.

"He confronted Israeli settlers alone on many occasions... his home was demolished and he was arrested many times, yet he never stopped rallying Palestinians in the area to protest."

The South Hebron hills are largely located in "Area C" of the occupied West Bank, a zone under direct Israeli control, where Palestinians are forbidden from building and Israeli settlers are most active.