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Palestinian Youth Shot and Killed in Bethlehem

Monday, 09 March 2015 22:46 - [23 February - 1 March] - Ref.: 20/2015
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jihad_jaafari_drawingOn 24 February, the Ja'fari family woke up at approximately 3:00 am to the sound of live bullets and tear gas canisters being fired in the refugee camp where they live. Shehada 'Abdallah Al-Ja'fari, 46, immediately checked on his family members in the house and that is when he realized that his son, Jihad, 19, was not at home. Shehada asked his wife to call Jihad and ask him to come home and then went back to sleep. At approximately 4:00 am, Shehada woke up and heard his nephew, 'Ali, knocking at a relative's home next door, telling him that Jihad had been killed. A few seconds later, Jihad's mother saw his cousins and uncle carrying Jihad down the stairs of the apartment building. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10464/2015)

Affidavit of 'Ali Sami Al-Ja'fari - Al-Dheisha refugee camp - Bethlehem

That night at approximately 1:00 am, the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) raided Al-Dheisha refugee camp. In response, young men from the camp threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the IOF to prevent them from going deeper into the camp. During the raid, the Israeli soldiers fired both rubber and live bullets, while snipers spread out on to the roofs of the houses and the camp's alleys. They shot at any moving object. An Israeli soldier was wounded during this period.

'Ali, 32, was watching from the roof of his house when one of his neighbours pointed out a sniper nearby and told him that Jihad Al-Ja'fari had been injured. Jihad had been on the roof next door, which was connected to 'Ali’s house. When 'Ali tried to climb the fence to reach Jihad, he saw a soldier's laser gun sight pointed towards him and was fired upon. By the time 'Ali reached Jihad, Jihad had passed away. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10467/2015)

Affidavit of Ahmad Sami Al-Ja'fari - Al-Dheisha refugee camp - Bethlehem

On the same night, Ahmad, 23, went up to the third floor of his house to see what was happening when he heard that the Israeli forces had entered the camp. There, he saw one of his neighbours standing on the street, throwing stones at the soldiers, who fired live bullets and tear gas in retaliation. In the meantime, he saw his cousin Jihad climb the wall between their two houses. Ahmad told Jihad to jump to his side so that the soldiers would not see him, but he refused. Jihad instead jumped to the roof of his house, facing the soldiers' location. Jihad threw one stone at the soldiers, and was shot before throwing the second stone. Jihad called on Ahmad and told him that he was injured. Ahmad ran to his brother 'Abdallah's house, on the second floor and informed him. They immediately called an ambulance. Ahmad went back up to check on Jihad who wasn’t moving. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10466/2015)

Affidavit of Ayham Khaled Al-Barbarawi - Halhoul - Hebron

Ayham, 33, is a paramedic at the Palestinian Red Crescent. On 24 February at approximately 3:56 am, the Red Crescent received a phone call indicating that a person was injured at the Dheisha refugee camp. Ayham and his colleague Rani Ja'afra, immediately headed there. At 4:00 am the ambulance was at the location. One of the Israeli military jeeps blocked the way, preventing the ambulance from passing through. Eventually, the ambulance was able to pass, however, they could not reach Jihad's house due to the bullets that were being fired by the Israeli soldiers, with the ambulance caught in the midst of bullet fire and tear gas for almost twenty minutes. Only when the soldiers retreated from the camp, was the ambulance able to reach the house. As a result, Jihad arrived at Al-Yamama Hospital at 4:27 am - almost double the time that the journey should have taken, between the two locations. The paramedics were not able to transfer Jihad to the Governmental Hospital of Beit Jala as the Israeli military had closed the roads in the area. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10465/2015)

Jihad Shehada Al-Ja'fari was shot in the left shoulder with a live bullet that led to his death. Al-Haq condemns the killing of 19-year-old Jihad and Israel's continuing disproportionate and excessive use of force against the Palestinian civilian population. As an Occupying Power, Israel must abide by its obligations under international law by respecting the right to life of the occupied population. The right to life is guaranteed under international human rights law, including Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Moreover, under international standards, including the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials, the use of firearms should be limited and exceptional and guided by the principles of necessity and proportionality. With soldiers and snipers positioned in the camp, the IOF’s swift employment of live firearms against unarmed civilians, including Jihad, that did not pose an immediate threat to life through stone throwing, should be investigated. Moreover, the IOF’s obstruction of the ambulance which was attempting to reach Jihad in a timely manner also falls in contradiction of Israel’s duties as an occupying power. Article 12 of the International Covenant of Economic Social and Cultural Rights requires States parties to ensure the highest attainable standard of health to civilians and to ensure the full realization of the right to health.