Report: IDF finds troops’ lives were not at risk in killing of Palestinian teen
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Report: IDF finds troops’ lives were not at risk in killing of Palestinian teen

Proper conduct could have prevented two deaths, multiple injuries in past two weeks, according to internal army memo published by Israel Radio

Illustrative: IDF soldiers stand with their weapons during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Hebron, on Tuesday, October 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)
Illustrative: IDF soldiers stand with their weapons during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank city of Hebron, on Tuesday, October 13, 2015. (AP Photo/Nasser Shiyoukhi)

An internal army memo found that four incidents of shootings of Palestinians in the past two weeks were preventable, had correct procedure been followed, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.

The document, which was obtained by the radio station, claimed that two deaths and two cases of serious injury in the West Bank could have been avoided if IDF soldiers and Border Police officers had followed military guidelines.

The internal review reportedly found that an army patrol was wrong to shoot and kill a rock-throwing youth last week near the village of Beit Ummar in the Hebron region, close to the Etzion Bloc of settlements, as their lives were not in danger.

After the fatal shooting of 15-year-old Khaled Bahr Ahmad Musa Bahr, the army said in a statement that the troops “called on the Palestinian to halt, before they fired warning shots in the air and then towards the suspect, resulting in his death.”

Illustrative. Palestinian youth throw stones towards Israeli security forces during clashes in the West Bank town of Hebron on October 4, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader)
Illustrative. Palestinian youth throw stones towards Israeli security forces during clashes in the West Bank town of Hebron on October 4, 2015. (AFP/Hazem Bader)

The commander of the troops claimed that he opened fired because he felt that his life was at risk. However, the report was said to have found that the soldiers were not in immediate danger and had other options available to them to address the situation.

The IDF would not officially address the claim that the soldiers’ lives were not at risk, but said the incident was “under investigation by the Military Police’s Investigative Unit, and when it is over, the findings will be brought before the military advocate general for review.”

The document also reportedly criticized a group of Border Police officers who fired a barrage of bullets at a 19-year-old woman who approached them with a knife at Tapuah junction in the northern West Bank last week.

The woman, named as Raheeq Shajeyeh Youssef from the nearby village of Asira ash-Shamaliya, approached the officers, ignored orders to stop and then pulled out a knife, police said.

In response, the officers shot her approximately 30 times, according to the report.

A video of the event (below) appeared to show the officers shooting the woman after she no longer posed a threat.

https://youtu.be/yllWOEGt8pw

The Border Police has launched an inquiry into the event.

Though the incident was discussed in the internal report, the army refused to answer questions about it, as border guards are part of the Israel Police and not the IDF.

The army also evaluated an incident from last week where Border Police officers fired at a car which ran a temporary checkpoint that had been set up outside a-Ram, near Jerusalem, where IDF soldiers were operating at the time.

Illustrative photo of Border Policemen checking the papers of Palestinians drivers at a checkpoint, May 9 2010. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative photo of Border Policemen checking the papers of Palestinians drivers at a checkpoint, May 9 2010. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The internal investigation reportedly found that the driver of the vehicle was wearing earphones and didn’t hear the officers’ instructions to halt.

The border guards said they thought it was an attempted car-ramming, though “this turned out to have been erroneous,” the army said.

The Border Police officers then opened fire at the car, though they did not hit the driver.

The internal review found that shooting was unnecessary as the officers were in an armored jeep and their lives were not in danger. This was not confirmed by the IDF.

Illustration. A Palestinian youth from the Jalazoun refugee camp places burning tires on the road leading to the settlement of Bet El near Ramallah as he clashes with Israeli soldiers, October 24, 2014 (STR/Flash90)
Illustration. A Palestinian youth from the Jalazoun refugee camp places burning tires on the road leading to the settlement of Bet El near Ramallah as he clashes with Israeli soldiers, October 24, 2014 (STR/Flash90)

The fourth incident reviewed in the document was near the town of Jalazoun, which occurred some ten days ago.

According to the army, a group of approximately 50 Palestinians were throwing rocks and rolling burning tires at Israeli troops.

In response, the soldiers fired live rounds, tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters.

The army initially reported that there were no injuries, though it later noted that three Palestinians were wounded, one by live fire and two by rubber bullets.

The report was said to find the shooting to be justified, but took issue with the way the operation was conducted. This was confirmed by the army.

“Following the incident, the procedures for that sensitive point of friction were clarified, and the platoon commander was summoned by the battalion commander to clarify [what had happened],” the army said.

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