Palestinian Attacker Was Wounded And Lying On The Ground
Soldier Suspended And Placed Under Investigation
Human Rights Groups Not Confident He Will Faced Any Consequences
Israeli forces killed two Palestinians who had allegedly stabbed a soldier in the West Bank on Thursday, with video showing one of the attackers being shot in the head as he lay wounded on the ground.
The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Health identified the two men as Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi and Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif. They were both 21.
The graphic video, published by Israeli rights group B’Tselem Thursday morning after the suspected stabbing took place in Tel Rumeida, shows an Israeli soldier step forward and shoot Sharif in the head.
The video seems to show that he was already clearly wounded and apprehended on the concrete, unable to move as Israeli medics treated the injured soldier nearby. Later footage shows Sharif lying motionless with blood coming from his head.
The video appears to confirm repeated claims by Palestinians and global human rights groups that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) will fatally shoot suspected attacks who no longer pose any imminent security threat.
“In this case it seems crystal clear a soldier executed a wounded Palestinian assailant while he was on the ground,” said Sarit Michaeli, spokeswoman for B’Tselem, “You can see he is alive but injured. It is also clear from the video that an Israeli soldier has been injured. But this kind of conduct is shocking, especially considering the blase response of the other soldiers and security forces who are also seen.”
“It raises serious questions about why these appear to unsurprising to these other soldiers and that needs to be seriously investigated.”
Michaeli added that she had little optimism that the shooting would be properly investigated, or that the IDF soldiers would face any serious consequences.
Ayman Odeh, a prominent leader within a bloc of Arab parties in the Israeli parliament also harshly condemned the videotaped killing, saying “Israel has turned in recent months into a place in which executions are carried out in public with the encouragement of cheering mobs.”
The incident comes amid a six-month wave of Palestinian stabbings, shootings, and car-ramming attacks that has killed 28 Israelis and two Americans. No major operations have been conducted by IDF personnel, but over 188 Palestinians have died by Israeli responses. Israel has repeatedly blamed the attacks on incitement by Palestinian leaders and social media traffic worldwide.
Commenting on the footage, Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa director Philip Luther urged the international community to begin responding to these instances of violence, saying “The shooting of a wounded and incapacitated person, even if they have been involved in an attack, has absolutely no justification and must be prosecuted as a potential war crime.”
Coming just three days after the 2016 Presidential candidates appeals to AIPAC, it is unlikely that these events will have a significant impact on each of their respectively steadfast commitments to defending Israel, however there is a growing trend of European nations putting pressure on Israel to end this current wave of violence.
For their part, Israeli army spokesman Peter Lerner said “The Israel Defence Forces views this incident as a grave breach of IDF values, conduct, and standards of military operations. A military police investigation has commenced and the soldier involved has been detained.”