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Three Palestinians Killed, One Seriously Injured

Wednesday, 29 July 2015 14:42 Ref Number: 72/2015
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 Israel's indiscriminate,excessive, and unlawful use of force against Palestinian civilians persists in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Almost on a daily basis, Al-Haq documents Israel’s reckless and lethal use of force which has led to the killing and injury of countless Palestinians over the years. Since the beginning of 2015, Israel has killed 21 Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Between 21 and 27 July alone, Israel shot and killed three Palestinians in the West Bank.

Muhammad ‘Atta Ziyad Abu Latifa - Qalandia refugee camp - East Jerusalem

Most recently on 27 July at approximately 5:00 am, Israeli forces raided Qalandia refugee camp in East Jerusalem in order to arrest Muhammad 'Atta Ziyad Abu Latifa, 19, from his house. According to Al-Haq’s preliminary field research, Muhammad immediately escaped to the roof of his house once he saw the soldiers. At approximately 5:30 am, witnesses heard Israeli forces shoot three bullets. The bullets hit Muhammad while he was on the roof of his house, injuring him in his leg and thigh. According to an Al-Haq field researcher, there was a pool of blood that indicated that Muhammad had moved around the roof trying to escape from the soldiers, and had gone to his neighbour’s roof after being injured. The soldiers went up to the roof where Muhammad was at around 6 am, and stayed there until they retreated from the camp at approximately 6:30 am. Muhammad was left to bleed for at least one hour. At 6:45 the Palestinian Red Crescent received a call stating that a young man, Muhammad 'Atta Abu Latifa, was killed in the camp.

Nafez 'Allam Demeiri - Shu'fat refugee camp - East Jerusalem

On Sunday 12 July at approximately 5:00 pm, Nafez 'Allam Demeiri, 55, was shot with a sponge bullet in his eye by Israeli forces in Shu'fat refugee camp, East Jerusalem. Nafez was shot while he was inside the "Al-Khatib Supermarket" in the camp. Nafez's transfer to hospital was obstructed and delayed by the Israeli soldiers stationed at the checkpoint, separating the camp from the rest of East Jerusalem. The soldiers prohibited the ambulance from crossing the checkpoint. Eventually, Nafez was transferred in a private car in order to reach the Hadassah Hospital in Mount Scopus.

The doctors stated that Nafez's nose and skull were ruptured and as a result he was transferred to Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital. There, the doctors informed his brother, Ayman Demeiri, 43, that Nafez's right eye needed to be removed. Nafez remained in the hospital for two days before he was discharged. Nafez's vision impairment is even more devastating considering the fact that he is deaf and mute. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10826/2015)

Footage from the supermarket's surveillance cameras show that Israeli forces fired bullets near the supermarket as young Palestinian men ran and took cover inside the supermarket. At that time, Nafez walked into the supermarket, was shot in the face, and fell to the ground. A sound canister was shot near the entrance of the supermarket. Nafez then stood up, walked a few steps and fell back to the ground again.

Muhammad Ahmad ‘Alawna - Bruqin - Jenin

In another incident west of Jenin, on Tuesday 21 July at approximately 3:00 am, the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) raided the town of Bruqin. Muhammad Ahmad 'Alawna, 19, and his two friends were on the Bruqin-Al-Shuhada Street approximately 30 metres away from the Israeli forces. There were soldiers, two military jeeps, a carrier and a white car. Muhammad threw stones at the soldiers. The soldiers loudly told them in Arabic "to come closer if they're brave enough" and cursed at them. There was no one in the area other than the soldiers and these three young men. At approximately 3:30 am, Muhammad was shot in the chest by an Israeli soldier as he threw stones in their direction. No gunshot was heard at the time of Muhammad's injury.

Muhammad was transferred to the Jenin Governmental Hospital where he arrived at 3:55 am and underwent surgery. The bullet that hit Muhammad in the chest had caused bleeding and ruptured his interior arteries. According to the doctors and nurses at the hospital, it was an explosive bullet that had hit him. At approximately 9:25 am that day, Muhammad was declared dead at the hospital. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10838/2015)

Falah Hamdi Abu Maria - Beit Ummar - Hebron

falah-abu-mariaThe next day, Wednesday 22 July at approximately 3:20 am, two cars with a Palestinian license plate, carrying Israeli soldiers, were roaming the city centre of Beit Ummar, Hebron. The two cars arrived at the residence of Falah Hamdi Abu Maria, 53. The soldiers knocked on the door of the building. When the family woke up, Falah and his son Muhammad, 24, opened the door for the soldiers along with his father. Muhammad asked the soldiers to wait until the women upstairs were covered before they broke into the house. The soldiers refused to wait; Muhammad tried to prevent them from going inside by putting one arm on the wall and the other on the railing while his father stood behind him.

Almost immediately after, one of the soldiers shot two bullets at Muhammad's thighs. Falah started screaming when he saw what happened to his son. He went outside and stood on a balcony facing the street. He called for help from his neighbours. The soldiers retreated and shot in the air with five bullets hitting the wall of the house underneath the balcony. Falah threw a flowerpot and two tiles from the balcony in the direction of the soldiers standing in the northern part of the front yard. In response, the soldiers heavily opened fire at Falah. He was injured with two bullets in his chest and underarm. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10840/2015)

The neighbours rushed to the Abu Maria residence after hearing the gunshots and the screaming. In response, the soldiers threw tear gas and sound canisters at the neighbours to prevent them from reaching the residence. The soldiers also threw tear gas at the staircase inside the building, and left quickly thereafter. Falah and Muhammad were both transferred to Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron. Falah was pronounced dead at approximately 4:00 am that same day. Muhammad was in the ICU until 25 July and remains in hospital till today.

The IOF's violent and arbitrary raid into the Abu Maria residence led to crimes that could have been avoided. The family did not object to the soldiers going into the house and merely asked for some time for the females to get dressed. Shooting Muhammad was an aggressive, provocative act given that he did not pose any threat to the soldiers. Falah, after seeing his son shot, understandably become fearful and angry. Falah’s actions did not however, create a lethal threat against the IOF. Indeed, when Falah had thrown the tiles and pots, the soldiers could have used non-lethal methods or retreated in the yard to protect themselves from these objects. Instead, the soldiers shot and killed Falah. Therefore, Israel’s  claim that confrontations erupted within Falah's residence in order to vindicate itself of the murder is unsubstantiated. Again, even if there were “confrontations,” there is no indication that Falah, Muhammad, or anyone else inside the residence had weapons or threatened the lives of the soldiers. Stone throwing only took place following the killing of Falah and far from his residence.

Israel's disregard of Palestinians' right to life is manifested through its policy of indiscriminate and disproportionate use of lethal force against Palestinian civilians. Under international human rights and humanitarian law, Israel, as an Occupying Power, must respect the right to life of the occupied population. Additionally, the IOF must be guided by principles of necessity and proportionality when using force and firearms. As such, non-violent means should be used whenever possible in order to minimize injury and death. These principles further hold that firearms should only be used in cases of “self-defense or defense of others against the imminent threat of death or injury.”[1] In the three cases of extrajudicial killings mentioned above, similar extreme violent measures were taken by the IOF regardless of the circumstances. In all of the aforementioned cases of killing and injury, there is no clear evidence that any of the men posed a  threat to the Israeli forces at the time of their shooting. Nafez Demeiri was in fact merely inside the supermarket when he was injured by the IOF’s random shooting into a clearly civilian, non-hostile area. Such outrageous acts must be unequivocally condemned by the international community.

With regard to medical assistance, Israel is bound by Article 12 (1) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which requires States Parties to recognise the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. This right includes the provision of equal and timely access to basic health services. Further, according to the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, medical assistance must be provided to injured individuals "at the earliest possible moment." Israel continues to obstruct Palestinian access to health care services, whether for long-term medical needs or for emergencies caused by the IOF. Muhammad Abu Latifa's life might have been saved if he had been provided with medical assistance by the Israeli forces at the scene. Nafez Demeiri’s suffereing was also prolonged as a result of being held at the checkpoint. Al-Haq condemns the Israeli authorities' ongoing restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of movement, including the numerous checkpoints established across the West Bank, which restrict access to health care and other facilities.

Furthermore, Al-Haq is gravely concerned with Israel’s arbitrary home raids, which are in contravention to international standards on the right to liberty and security of person, including those related to arrest and detention procedures, and rights to privacy and home. Aside from the individuals targeted in these raids, children and other family members present are inevitably also traumatized from Israel’s brute use of force. Al-Haq calls upon the international community to ensure that Israel respects its obligations under international law in the OPT, including the right to life, the right to the highest attainable standard of health, and the right to freedom of movement.



[1] Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials, Principle 9

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