Monday, November 23, 2020

Video shows Palestinian youth posed no threat when shot by Israeli army

By Zuzana Brezinová - July 13, 2015
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Qalandiya checkpoint] [Israeli army] [Rambam Medical Centre]

The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, B’Tselem, released a video Sunday that shows Israeli Brigade Commander Israel Shomer possibly breaching the rules of engagement shooting and killing a Palestinian youth in an incident near Qalandiya 10 days ago.


The video footage shows Muhammad Al-Kasbah, a 17-year-old Palestinian teenager, throwing a rock at Shomer’s passing Israeli military jeep. The jeep stops immediately after the rock hits its windshield. Three Israeli soldiers are then seen exiting the car and two of them running after the boy and shooting.


"The forces called the suspect to halt and shot warning shots in the air. Once he continued hurling rocks at close range and in response to the imminent danger the forces fired towards the suspect," says the official IDF statement, as the i24news reported.


However, the video does not capture either the verbal warning, or the shots fired in the air, both of which allegedly preceded the direct shooting.


“B’Tselem’s investigation found that the shooting that killed Ali-Kosbah was unjustified and unlawful, and that the official version presented did not accord with the facts of the incident,” reads the NGO’s press release published this morning.


Prior to the video’s release, an Israeli military official told the Jerusalem Post that, “the attack on the commander’s vehicle had been planned in advance and [Shomer] reacted exactly as expected given that the incident presented an immediate risk to his life.”


“The claim that Al-Kosbah posed a mortal threat to the soldiers at the time of the shooting, having fled the scene, is unreasonable. Feeling a sense of danger is not enough to justify any action,” asserts B’Tselem.


The Israeli army insists that Shomer, “initiated [and followed] the IDF-sanctioned procedure to arrest Al-Kosbah, in which it is permissible to shoot at suspect’s legs,” as Haaretz reported.


B’Tselem’s researcher Iyad Hadad, who photographed the youth’s body and interviewed the doctors at the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, said that the teenage boy was shot three times and none of the injuries were in the lower parts of his body.


Al-Kosbah, rather, sustained deadly wounds in his back and face, which has raised questions as to whether Shomer followed the proper arrest procedure anchored in military protocol.


“[The military open-fire regulations] do not permit killing [Al-Kosbah] by firing three shots at his upper body. The fact that the soldiers drove away without offering the injured youth any medical assistance runs counter to basic human morality,” claims B’Tselem.


The video along with other material that the NGO collected, including interviews with eyewitnesses, were sent to the Israeli Military Police Investigations Unit (MPIU) that launched an investigation into the incident last week.


However, B’Tselem’s officials expressed their doubts about the neutrality of the investigation process saying that, “it is highly doubtful that the MPIU could carry out an effective, unbiased investigation,” especially since Shomer’s actions already received strong backing from the Israeli public and political figures.


Israeli Deputy Defence Minister Eli Ben Dahan, told Haaretz prior to the video’s release that, “throwing stones is terrorism. Stones kill. The Brigade commander [Shomer] was acting in self-defence.”


Similarly, Naftali Bennet, Israeli Education Minister, wrote on his Facebook page that, “if a man comes to kill you, kill him first.

“I fully back the Brigade Commader who acted against a terrorist to protect himself and the lives of his soldiers. This is the conduct that we expect from IDF commanders. The nation of Israel stands behind you.” 


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