JCRC Condemns Today’s Murder of Two Israeli Druze Police Officers

Master Sgt. Kamil Shnaan, left, and Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, right, the police officers killed in the terror attack next to the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

Attack Comes Amid Escalating Efforts at the United Nations to Delegitimize the Jewish Connection to Jerusalem and Hebron

July 14, 2017

Minneapolis, MN – Steve Hunegs, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC), issued the following statement:

“The Jewish Community Relations Council of Minnesota and the Dakotas (JCRC) condemns Friday’s act of terrorism in which two Israeli Druze police officers were murdered in a shooting attack adjacent to the Temple Mount complex in the Old City of Jerusalem. The victims were identified as Haiel Sitawe, age 30, and Kamil Shnaan, age 22. Sitawe and Shnaan were both posthumously promoted to the rank of Master Sergeant. A third police officer was also lightly wounded in the attack.

“The three Arab Israeli terrorists responsible for this brazen attack at the holiest site in Judaism and third holiest in Islam all hailed from the same Arab Israeli city of Umm al-Fahm. After ambushing the Israeli police officers with guns and knives, the terrorists fled back to the Temple Mount compound, but were later shot dead by other police officers before they could kill anyone else.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan, and all the people of Israel as they endure the ongoing ‘Stabbing Intifada,’ which has left 45 Israelis, two visiting Americans, and one British student, dead since its outbreak in September 2015.

“Sitawe, a member of Israel’s small Druze minority came from the town of Maghar, a mostly Druze and Arab city in northern Israel. Formerly a member of the Border Police, Sitawe joined the Israeli Police in 2012 and served in a unit responsible for protecting the Temple Mount. Sitawe leaves behind a wife, Irin, a three-week-old son, his parents and three brothers.

“Shnaan, also a member of Israel’s Druze community was from the Druze village of Hurfeish in northern Israel. The youngest son of a former Labor Party Knesset member, Shnaan’s engagement party was to be held next week. In addition to his father and girlfriend, Shnaan leaves behind his mother, one brother, and three sisters.

“Notably, today’s Temple Mount murders, one month after the killing of another police officer, twenty-three-year-old Hadas Malka, also in the Old City comes amidst an outrageous and well-orchestrated campaign at the United Nations to deny any historical or legal connection between Jews and our holiest sites in Jerusalem and Hebron. This wicked campaign at the United Nations, and elsewhere, to divorce the people of Israel from the Land of Israel no doubt adds fuel to the already burning fire of incitement emanating from Palestinian politicians, religious figures, and media.

“Regrettably, until Palestinians living within and beyond the borders of Israel can accept that the Jewish people are no less indigenous to the land and no less entitled to live at peace then there is little expectation that there can be a political resolution to the conflict. Accordingly, the JCRC calls on the international community not just to condemn this latest act of terror, but the incitement, including at the United Nations, which intentionally or not provides justification for the ongoing violence against Israel and Israelis.”

As the public affairs voice of the Jewish community, the JCRC fights anti-Semitism and prejudice, advocates for Israel, provides Holocaust education, promotes tolerance and social justice, and builds bridges across the Jewish and broader communities.