Palestinian citizen of Israel shot dead as gun crime death toll among community surpasses last year's

Palestinian citizen of Israel shot dead as gun crime death toll among community surpasses last year's
A 39-year-old dentist was the latest Palestinian citizen of Israel to fall victim to a shooting, as crime continues to tear through the community.
2 min read
12 July, 2023
A general view of Jatt where the Palestinian dentist was found dead [Getty/archive]

A Palestinian citizen of Israel was shot dead in the country’s north on Tuesday, the latest in a long series of violent crimes ravaging the community.

Dr. Ramiz Abu Asba, a 39-year-old dentist, was found dead in the northern village of Jatt, a Palestinian locality in the Haifa district.

Paramedics found him lying on his porch unconscious and declared him dead at the scene, according to Israeli media reports.

The death brings the number of Palestinian citizens of Israel killed in homicides since the start of this year to 117, according to the Abraham Initiatives organisation based in Israel – already higher than the 116 such deaths recorded for the whole of 2022.

Palestinians that live within the borders of Israel are mainly those who were able to escape the brutal ethnic cleansing of Palestinians by Israeli forces and militias during the Nakba in 1948. 

Fatal shootings have plagued Israel's Palestinian community, who make up about one-fifth of the country's population, for decades – but the problem appears to be worsening dramatically.

Palestinians have protested the spike in killings, complaining about discrimination within Israel and police inaction over the murders.

In June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the forming of a steering committee to stop the violence, stating that he would reinforce the police and integrate the Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency into anti-crime wave efforts.

However, the head of Shin Bet, Ronen Bar, later told the prime minister that such integration would be detrimental to the agency in its "fight against terrorism."

Some Palestinians have expressed fear that Shin Bet's involvement could be a pretext for persecution of Palestinian citizens of Israel and worry that the government could use the agency to target them for political reasons.

Also on Tuesday, two other men were wounded, one severely, in a shooting in the southern Bedouin town of Rahat. The circumstances for the shooting were unclear.

More than 100 Palestinians have already been killed by Israeli forces and settler attacks across occupied territories and the Gaza Strip since the beginning of this year.