A preliminary investigation into the shooting death of a Palestinian man during armed clashes between rioters and IDF servicemen in the al-Arroub refugee camp north of Hebron on Monday found that he did not present a danger and lethal force was not warranted.
The Palestinian health ministry on Monday said IDF troops shot and killed 22-year old Omar al-Badawi, a resident of the camp, when he left his house to extinguish a fire caused by a Molotov cocktail that landed on the building. Video footage purporting to show the incident showed a young man carefully approaching the fire before falling down.
According to the army, the clashes came after troops responded to Palestinians throwing rocks at cars on the highway and came under attack by firebomb-wielding Palestinians. The Palestinians were commemorating the 15th anniversary of the death of PLO chairman and Palestinian Authority president Yasser Arafat.
The army has passed on the investigation to the military police.
The incident drew condemnation from the PA, United Nations and Arab Israeli lawmakers.
The Palestinian Authority’s foreign ministry placed “full responsibility for this incident on the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Tweeting that al-Badawi appeared to have “posed no threat to anyone,” UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov called for an investigation into the killing.
Al-Badawi was “a human being,” tweeted Joint List head Ayman Odeh. “He has family and friends who have seen the records of his last moments as he wallows in his own blood. He is only 22 but from now on he will be spoken of in the past tense.
“For the army, he is only a Palestinian subject… This is the violent nature of the occupation and it will not change until we end it,” added Odeh.
Abdel Rahman Hassan, a Palestinian journalist who was at the scene, told Haaretz that al-Badawi had not taken part in Monday’s violence and was shot after approaching a fire with a towel, intending to extinguish it.
Late last month, 13 Palestinians were arrested in a “wide-scale operation” in the al-Arroub camp, which the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA says “has one of the highest numbers of incursions of all refugee camps in the West Bank.” The army said the arrests came in response to an uptick in stone-throwing and firebomb attacks on Israeli vehicles traveling on nearby Route 60. The IDF said that troops found and confiscated an M16 rifle and ammunition during searches of al-Arroub.