Other relatives told Israel Radio that Mr. Qian, the driver, was not an extremist. When asked in the past what he would do when the police arrived to evict him, Mr. Qian had responded that he would drive to his mother’s home in a nearby town.
Michal Haramati, a rights activist from Jerusalem, who was in the village at the time, told the Israeli news website Ynet that she had heard many shots and that the driver had suddenly lost control of the vehicle, which went down a slope and hit two or three police officers.
“Eyewitnesses have confirmed that Abu al-Qian was trying to leave the village and lost control of his car only after police fired at him,” said Adalah, a group that campaigns for Arab-minority rights in Israel and that has provided legal representation for the residents of Umm al-Hiran over the past 13 years, in a statement. Adalah accused the police of a “culture of lying.”
Adalah said that the families of the Abu al-Qian tribe had been expelled from their lands with the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and, during the 1950s, had been ordered to move to the current site of Umm al-Hiran. The government never legally recognized the village and demanded that the people relocate to a nearby government-planned Bedouin town, called Houra.
The government said the residents could purchase some plots in the future town of Hiran. Residents were offered compensation to move and alternative land, but many said they wanted to stay together in their community.