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Palestinian driver suspected of negligent homicide in crash that killed Israeli boy

Mother of 6-year-old Matan Tsinman who was killed in head-on collision in the West Bank last month has claimed the incident was deliberate; suspect released on bail

Matan Tsinman (Courtesy)
Matan Tsinman (Courtesy)

A 27-year-old Palestinian woman who was involved in a deadly car crash in the West Bank last month is suspected of negligent homicide, the Kan public broadcaster reported Tuesday.

The young woman was interrogated last week for her role in an accident on Route 60 near the West Bank city of Ariel that killed 6-year-old Matan Tsinman and injured four other family members.

The Palestinian woman was driving the car involved in a head-on collision with the Israeli vehicle. She is suspected of crossing a solid dividing line, deviating from her lane, reckless driving and subsequently causing death by negligence.

She was released on bail, the report said.

Tsinman’s mother Rivka, who was driving when the collision happened, was moderately injured. Three other of her children who were in the car at the time were also injured in the incident.

She has insisted that the Palestinian car deliberately swerved into her lane andthat the crash constituted a terror attack.

The scene of an accident where six-year-old Matan Tsinman was killed in a car accident near the West Bank settlement Ariel on July 27, 2022 (Magen David Adom)

“I slowed down, but the Palestinian vehicle sped up. I realized that it was going to hit me head-on and I was unable to stop. The collision was at enormous speed,” she said at the time.

“My little son was murdered. It was a deliberate crash, an attack, they wanted to hurt me. I saw what happened, I was fully conscious. I ask that they open an investigation into the matter. It was a terrorist attack,” she said.

There has been no indication from security services that they believe the collision was a terror attack.

Following the incident, Religious Zionism leader MK Bezalel Smotrich, who has previously served as transportation minister, blamed the accident on the poor condition of roads in the West Bank and on what he called “the culture of Arab driving.”

Rivka Tsinman at Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital, July 28, 2022 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

A report published in June by the Knesset’s Research and Information Center and cited by the Ynet news site showed that deadly car accidents were more likely to take place in the West Bank and involve Palestinian drivers. Among car accidents involving only Israeli drivers, five percent were deadly, compared with 14% when the drivers were Palestinian. The national average is 3%.

A state comptroller report published in May indicated that one possible reason for the trend is the lack of official supervision of Palestinian vehicles. In the West Bank, car inspection tests are conducted privately, without any official body overlooking the process.

This means that the only supervision of Palestinian vehicles’ safety systems is done at checkpoints.

According to the Or Yarok road safety lobby group, 180 people have been killed on Israel’s roads since the beginning of the year. That compares with 178 during the same period in 2021.

Last year, 361 people died on Israel’s roads, according to the National Road Safety Authority.

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