The body of one the two Palestinian teenagers killed at a Nakba Day protest on May 15 is set to be exhumed and examined by two doctors from abroad to determine the cause of death, the news website Al Araby Al Jadeed reported Monday.
The autopsy was approved by the family of Nadeem Siam Nawara, 17, despite their initial religious objections. Siam Nawara, the father of Nadeem, explained that “the investigation will not bring my son back, but his exhumation will expose the Israeli government and prevent them from killing more children.”
Two specialists, one from the US and the other from Denmark, will collaborate with Palestinian doctors in the inquiry, which is set to be completed by June 11, the report said.
The Nawara family said it discovered the bullet that claimed the life of their son in his backpack a few days after the incident, but have not handed over the evidence for fear it will be tampered with. They are demanding a joint Palestinian-Israeli investigation, brokered by international forces, to ensure the findings are accepted by all parties.
The family of the other victim, Mohammad Abu Daher, 16, has refused to allow an autopsy on his body, but will meet with an international investigative committee.
The Nakba Day incident has been the subject of an IDF investigation, after footage from the demonstration emerged purportedly showing the two Palestinians’ deaths after Israeli troops allegedly fired at them without provocation. Israel has insisted that soldiers only utilized rubber bullets and other non-lethal munitions to disperse rioters that day, and did not use live fire.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on May 20 that her office was seeking additional information from the Israeli government in order to determine whether the soldiers’ use of force was justified.
“We look to the government of Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident, including whether or not the use of force was proportional to the threat posed by the demonstrators,” she said, adding, “we are encouraging the government of Israel to conduct their own investigation.”
Israeli military officials responded that they had been investigating the incident since May 16, and had also opened a military police investigation. Preliminary findings indicated no live fire had been used by IDF troops, they said.
Palestinian witnesses at the scene insisted the two had been killed by live ammunition.
An IDF soldier from a communications unit who accompanied Border Police atthe Nakba Day rally was suspended from his unit on May 28 for firing rubber bullets at protesters that day against orders.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.