Friday, June 05, 2020

Israeli soldiers increasing use of violence; three Palestinians killed in eight days

By Jessica Purkiss - March 26, 2013
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Israeli army] [Israeli violence] [tear gas] [protests] [live ammunition]

Photo- Michele Monni

In just over one week three Palestinians have died from injuries caused by Israeli soldiers. In an eight day period from March 7 to March 15 Mohammed Asfour, Mahmoud Al-Titi and Moayad Ghazawneh lost their lives.

On March 7, 22 year old university student Mohammed Asfour died from wounds sustained 13 days earlier.  Israeli soldiers shot him in the head with a steel coated rubber bullet on February 22 whilst protesting in support of Palestinian prisoners in his village of Aboud, near the West Bank city of Ramallah. He was in his final year of Al-Quds University studying Physical Education and was expected to graduate by the end of this semester.

Mahmoud Al-Titi, 25, was shot dead on March 12 in clashes that erupted after Israeli soldier’s raided al-Fawwar refugee camp near Hebron. 

According to Ma’an News Agency, medical sources at Abu al-Hasan al-Qasim Hospital in Yatta confirmed that Mahmoud was brought to hospital with a head injury they claimed was caused by an internationally outlawed expanding "dum dum" bullet.

The announcement of Moayad and Mohammed's deaths after a significant delay from the time of the incidents may be indicative of a desire to quell the protests that would inevitably erupt following their deaths

Moayad Ghazawneh 35, died on 15 March, three weeks after Israeli soldiers shot a tear gas canister directly into his car during clashes in al-Ram. He experienced severe heart problems as a result and was transferred to a Ramallah hospital where he lost the fight for his life.

Mahmoud was a journalism student and the coordinator of the Youth Movement for Freed Prisoners. He was also an active member of the nonviolent resistance movement in Hebron, and was the administrator of a Facebook page that focuses on the issues and suffering of Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel.

Moayad Ghazawneh left behind a wife and two young children.

The announcement of Moayad and Mohammed's deaths after a significant delay from the time of the incidents may be indicative of a desire to quell the protests that would inevitably erupt following their deaths. Whilst Moayad was revived and placed in intensive care which kept him alive for three weeks, Mohammed died in a Tel-Aviv hospital so it is difficult to ascertain. 

To the families they leave behind these 3 men are more than just a statistic demonstrating Israel’s brutality. 

The deaths highlight the danger of the 'riot dispersal’ tactics employed by the Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. Mohammed Asfour’s death was caused by a rubber bullet. 

According to Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, the measures taken to disperse demonstrations is based on security officials’ belief that rubber bullets are less lethal than live ammunition, therefore unlike live ammunition which is only permitted under the Open-Fire Regulations for use in situations which are life-threating to the soldiers, rubber bullets are appropriate for use in situations which are not life threatening. The result has been the deaths of many Palestinians.

Similarly the non-lethal crowd dispersion method of using 'tear gas’ caused Moayad’s death. Siblings Bassem Abu Rahmah and Jawaher Abu Rahmah died as a result of the use of tear gas. Bassem died from the impact of a fired high-velocity tear gas canister hitting his chest in 2009 whilst his sister died of tear gas inhalation on New Year’s Day in 2011.

 The use of 'dumdum’ bullets is a violation of international law. Article 8 at the Review Conference of the Rome Statute in Kampala made the use of expanding bullets in non-international armed conflict a war crime. The Hague Convention also prohibits there use in international warfare. Whilst tear gas and rubber bullets masquerade as non-lethal methods of riot dispersal, dumdum bullets cannot be justified under such pretences. 

The deaths follow a series of killings across the West Bank and Gaza strip, bringing the total number of Palestinian lives lost since the beginning of the year at the hands of Israeli soldiers and officials to nine, including Arafat Jaradat who was tortured to death in an Israeli prison.

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