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Unlawful Targeting and Killing of a Palestinian Teenager in Hebron

Saturday, 22 November 2014 13:37
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At about 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday 11 November, Al-‘Aroub Refugee Camp witnessed clashes between the Israeli Occupying Forces and Palestinian youth. Protests were held to mark the 10th anniversary of Yassir Arafat’s death. The clashes took place in the northwest area of the camp next to “Route 60”. Palestinian youth were throwing stones towards Israeli soldiers, who responded by using gas and sound bombs alongside metal and rubber-coated bullets.

Muhammad ‘Imad Jwabraah – Al-‘Aroub Refugee Camp – Hebron

Muhammad_JwabraahMuhammad, 19, participated in the protest on the morning of 11 November. At approximately 9:00 a.m., he was shot with a rubber-coated bullet in his leg, and returned home. Later that day, he was with his cousin ‘Izz, 17, in the second floor of his house, an apartment under construction for his brother. Both watched the continued demonstrations from a window that looked over the west side of the camp.

Around 11:30 a.m., Muhammad’s cousin ‘Issam, 24, joined them to drink tea and watch the clashes next to the window. From there, the boys saw Israeli soldiers climbing on the roof of Hisham Al-Shareef’s house which was 70-meters south of their location. A few minutes later, ‘Issam heard the sound of a gunshot being fired from the southern side, and saw Muhammad fall down and shout in pain. ‘Issam and ‘Izz dropped down to avoid being shot and immediately carried Muhammad to the first floor of his house and took his shirt off. ‘Issam, who is a medical laboratory technician,  saw a small cut in the lower-right area of Muhammad’s chest, and a wide cut on his back, indicating the exit of the bullet. ‘Issam tried to revive Muhammad, who was convulsing and losing blood. ‘Issam accompanied Muhammad in the ambulance, during which the paramedics tried to revive Muhammad’s heart twice before arriving to Al-Mizan Hospital in Hebron.

The ambulance arrived at 12:00 p.m. and at about 12:20 p.m., doctors pronounced him dead due to a drop in blood circulation caused by severe bleeding in the abdomen and chest. Muhammad was buried 4 hours later in Al-‘Aroub Refugee Camp’s cemetery. ‘Issam received a phone call while at the hospital, and was told that some Israeli soldiers went to his cousin’s house and claimed that Muhammad had a gun when he was next to the window. The soldiers demanded that the family turn over the gun and searched the house for it. No gun was found in the house. ‘Issam confirmed that neither Muhammad nor anyone with them had a gun, and that they were only drinking tea and watching the clashes. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10158/2014)

Al-Haq condemns the killing of 19-year old Muhammad Jwabraah. As the Occupying Power, Israel is must abide by its obligations under international human rights law (IHRL) and international humanitarian law (IHL). Accordingly, Article 27 of the IV Geneva Convention and Article 46 of the Hague Regulations ensure the respect of civilians’ lives and persons. Israel in this regard must respect the right to life of the population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. The right to life is safeguarded under international human rights law, including Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

Israel violated these duties, leading to the unlawful killing of Muhammad. Al-Haq condemns the killing of Muhammad, and highlights the continued arbitrary killing and excessive use of force by Israel against Palestinian civilians. Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials specifies that the use of firearms should be exceptional and is considered extreme measures, which in all circumstances need to be necessary and proportional. The use of firearms is permissible only in the case of self-defence or in the defence of others against imminent threat of death or serious injury. Furthermore, the willful killing of protected civilians constitutes a war crime under Article 147 of the IV Geneva Convention of which the perpetrator holds direct individual responsibility. As noted in ‘Issam’s testimony, none of the men present, including Muhammad, were armed or were in any way a threat to Israeli soldiers. 

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