Dwayat’s Bulldozer

Husam Tayseer Dwayat jumped in his bulldozer on July 3, 2008. No one really knows what mission took hold of him or what purpose gripped his mind. Because he was a Palestinian resident of a village in East Jerusalem, he had no problems entering the main part of the city. He drove down Jaffa Road through a busy thoroughfare in West Jerusalem and suddenly rammed his 20-ton earth moving vehicle into four cars and two buses before an Israeli police officer climbed to the side of the bulldozer and shot the driver in the head. In addition to the fatalities, two people were seriously injured and 42 others sustained minor injuries.

Witnesses said that the bulldozer ran over a car, crushing its front end and killing the driver before hitting a bus shortly afterwards. Dwayat then struck another bus further down the road, knocking it over and leaving it with a gaping hole in its side. He also hit three other cars before a special police patrol unit arrived on motorcycles.

Onlookers then saw a police man climb up the side of the bulldozer and reach into the cab shooting Dwayat in the head at point blank range. Soon after the attack, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Omert, asked his cabinet to look into the possibility of demolishing the home of the driver. Sources close to Dwayat said that his Israeli employer owed him a large sum of money in backpay for construction work the Palestinian had completed.

A ceasefire between the Israelis and Gaza came into effect just last month. French President Micolas Sarkozy had stated that there can be no Mideast peace unless Israel drops its refusal to cede sovereignty over parts of Jerusalem Palestinians claim as theirs. In a speech before a packed session of his legislature, Sarkozy called on Israel to stop settlement in the West Bank and said, “There cannot be peace without an immediate and complete halt to settlement. There cannot be peace without recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of two states and the guarantee of free access to the holy places for all religions.”

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 in the 1967 war and then annexed it along with nearby villages in a move that was not recognized internationally. Palestinians have always considered East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. There are 200,000 Arabs that live in East Jerusalem. East and West Jerusalem are composed of Arab and Israelis that share neighborhoods, shopping centers and government services.