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High Court rejects petition to put IDF colonel on trial for shooting Palestinian stone-thrower

The High Court of Justice has rejected a petition to put IDF Col. Yisrael Shomer on trial for the 2015 deadly shooting of a Palestinian minor who threw stones at his vehicle close to the Palestinian town of A-Ram.

According to court filings, Shomer arrived at the scene shortly after receiving information about stone throwing in the area. A Palestinian minor, identified in the court’s ruling as Muhammad, hurled a large stone through the windshield of his car, lightly wounding one of the soldiers with Shomer. Shomer pursued Muhammad on foot, attempted to arrest him, and eventually shot him.

While Shomer testified that Muhammad was facing him as he attempted to arrest him, a sergeant present for the incident said that Muhammad was running away with his back turned when he was shot.

The High Court rules that some deference needed to be allowed to soldiers operating in such ambiguous security circumstances, which Justice Hanan Melzer calls “the kingdom of uncertainty.”

“Stones can kill,” Meltzer writes in an opinion for the court, adding that “judicial rulings in such cases must be sensitive to operational circumstances, and to the immediacy that characterizes events… in which the plaintiffs make fateful decisions in a fraction of a second.”

— Aaron Boxerman

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