A senior Palestinian official on Tuesday accused Israel of the “deliberate execution” of two Palestinian teens shot dead by border policemen in a clash in the West Bank last week.
But an Israeli army spokesman told AFP that video footage purporting to show the two being killed without provocation on Thursday had been doctored. And the IDF’s spokesman Peter Lerner told The Times of Israel that IDF forces used “only riot control techniques” to contain “a violent riot” that day. The IDF, which has denied any use of live fire in the confrontation, has been investigating the incident since Thursday, and has also opened a military police investigation in line with standard procedures, he said.
“In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the deliberate execution of two Palestinian teenagers who were fatally shot with live ammunition outside Ofer prison last week,” the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement. “Both boys were unarmed and posed no direct or immediate threat… Israel’s use of excessive and indiscriminate violence and live ammunition at nonviolent Palestinian demonstrations constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law,” she said.
The IDF said at the time that the border police used “anti-riot means and rubber bullets” against a violent demonstration by about 150 Palestinians.
Defense for Children International Palestine has released what it said was CCTV footage showing the deaths of Musaab Nuwarah, 20, and Mohammed Udeh, 17, during Thursday’s demonstration near the prison marking the 66th anniversary of what Palestinians call the Nakba — or “catastrophe” — of the Jewish state’s creation.
The video is interspersed with an account of events by a Palestinian man.
“That film was edited and does not reflect the reality of the day in question, the violence,” Major Arye Shalicar, an Israeli army spokesman, told AFP.
The border police contingent was under the army’s command at the time of the incident.
“As part of our inquiry we have investigated whether there was live fire and we have not found that there was live fire,” he said. “We are continuing with our investigation.”
An Israeli military source told The Times of Israel that the CCTV footage had been edited down from hours of violent protests to two minutes of footage that did not convey the violence that took place.
Amnesty International denounced the Israeli army’s “excessive” use of force in the Ofer incident. “The Israeli army and border police used excessive, including lethal, force in response to rock-throwing protesters who could not have posed a threat to the lives of the soldiers and policemen in or near the fortified military camp,” the rights watchdog said last week.