DATE: 26 JANUARY 2011
As an organisation dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), Al-Haq strongly condemns the latest incident of settler violence that resulted in the killing of a Palestinian teenager. On 26 January 2011, ‘Udayy Maher Hamdi Qadoush, 18 years old from ‘Iraq Bourin village (Nablus Governorate), was working on his land in the proximity of the village with his cousin, Umar Qadoush.
At approximately 12:50 pm, ‘Udayy noticed that his sheep had gone missing and went to look for them in the fields nearby when he reached a location about one kilometre from Brakha settlement.
At approximately 1:00 pm, Umar heard a bullet shot. He walked in the direction of the place of the shooting and from a distance of about 20 metres he saw ‘Udayy’s body lying on the ground surrounded by four settlers holding pistols, who were loitering beside the body and checking their surroundings, without seeking any medical assistance. In fear for his life, Umar found a hiding place where stayed for about half an hour but could not call for help, as he was not carrying his mobile phone.
When the settlers left towards Brakha settlement, Umar approached ‘Udayy and noticed that he had been shot and was not responsive. After having tried to carry ‘Udayy’s body for some metres, Umar then started to run towards the village to seek help. Villagers arrived on the scene with a horse since vehicles are unable to access the area, located about one and a half kilometres from the village, picked up ‘Udayy and brought him to the ambulance that was waiting on the road nearby to take the victim to the hospital, where he was declared dead.
A preliminary medical examination showed that ‘Udday was killed by a bullet that entered from the top left-hand side of his chest and went through diagonally to the lower right-hand side of his chest, remaining in the body, causing severe internal bleeding and bone damage.
Incidents of settler violence against Palestinians, including those involving the use of firearms, are constantly increasing. Such incidents are often organised activities carried out by groups of settlers that result in the injury and killing of Palestinians. Despite the surge in settler violence, the Israeli occupying forces are consistently failing to prevent such incidents and to hold settlers to account for their crimes, creating a culture of impunity that contributes to the escalation of settler attacks. The failure to effectively protect the Palestinians in the OPT is a breach of Israel’s international legal obligations as an Occupying Power to maintain civil life and public order and guarantee the rights of the protected persons.
Al-Haq strongly condemns the killing of ‘Udayy Qadoush and calls on the Israeli authorities to promptly open an impartial and independent criminal investigation leading to the prosecution of the perpetrators. Israel is also under the unequivocal obligation to ensure that reparations, including but not limited to monetary compensation, are provided to the victim’s family. Lack of effective accountability for this crime will contribute to the escalation of violence in the OPT; the Israeli authorities must genuinely investigate and prosecute this case to start countering the climate of impunity for settler violence.
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