Eyad Hallaq was shot to death in a roofless garbage room. According to the testimony of his caregiver, who was by his side and tried to protect him, he was executed. For long minutes she stood next to him and pleaded for his life, trying to explain to the police officers, in Hebrew and in Arabic, that he suffered from a disability. They shot him three times from close range with a rifle, directly into the center of his body, as he lay on his back, wounded and terrified, on the floor of the room.
The garbage room is located in a narrow courtyard in Jerusalem’s Old City, inside Lions Gate, exactly at the start of the Via Dolorosa, where Jesus walked from the site of his trial to the place of his crucifixion, on what’s now called King Faisal Street. It’s just a few dozen meters from the entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The sanctity of the area did not help Hallaq. Nor did the fact that he was someone with special needs, a 32-year-old autistic person, the apple of the eye of his parents, who devoted their lives to looking after him.
Hallaq was afraid of blood: His mother shaved him in the morning, for fear he would cut himself. Every scratch threw him into a panic, she says. He was also afraid of the armed police officers who stood along the route to the special needs center he went to, where participated in a vocational training program. His instructor taught him how to make his way there alone on foot – it took a month before he dared walk the route by himself – a little more than a kilometer from his home in the Wadi Joz neighborhood into the Old City.
Read more: ‘He’s Disabled,’ the Caregiver Screamed. ‘I’m With Her,’ Eyad Cried. The Cop Opened Fire Anyway