In July we published the findings of our investigation into the killing of Palestinian teenager Muhammad ‘Ali-Kosba by the Commander of the Binyamin Regional Brigade Col. Yisrael Shomer. The findings, which included video footage, disproved the conflicting versions published by the IDF Spokesperson, whereby Shomer both felt in mortal danger when he fired and also that he carried out suspect apprehension procedure. B’Tselem found that the lethal shots were fired while ‘Ali-Kosba, who had thrown a stone at the commander’s vehicle, was fleeing the scene and therefore no longer posed a real threat. The fact that three bullets struck the teen in the torso belies the claim that Shomer was following the procedure for apprehending a suspect, which permits firing only at the legs of a suspect.
Recently we also reported the MAG Corps’ decision to close the investigation into the March 2010 killing of cousins Muhammad and Usayed Qadus in the village of ‘Iraq Burin. The investigation yielded contradictory findings, and its conclusions – which required five years of work by the Military Police Investigation Unit (MPIU) and the MAG Corps – were remarkably similar to those of the internal operational inquiry ordered by the chief of staff a month after the incident.
The MPIU investigation into Col. Shomer’s lethal shooting of ‘Ali-Kosba has just begun, yet it is unlikely to yield much, given not only past experience but also that MPIU investigators did not themselves obtain the obvious evidence of footage from surveillance cameras at a nearby gas station. Moreover, the brigade commander was broadly backed by the OC Central Command and by politicians, including the Minister of Justice. Can any investigation be effective and objective under such circumstances?
On 22 Jul. 2015 the HCJ okayed deportation of Nadia Abu al-Jamal and her 3 children from their E. J’alem home as punishment for an attack her husband perpetrated. The justices denied the petition filed by NGO HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual on behalf of Abu al-Jamal. Deportation would not have been possible had not successive Israeli governments, with the approval of the HCJ, created an impossible reality in Jerusalem that forced Abu al-Jamal to live as a stranger in her husband’s home, in a spot not far from her childhood home. The two homes had been a part of the same community until Israel occupied the area and split it up.
In response to the publication in Israeli daily Ha’aretz that Israel would be entering into a dialogue with the prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in the Hague (ICC) in order to clarify the state’s position, B'Tselem states: Israel’s contention that the ICC has no jurisdiction over alleged breaches of the laws of war, partly because “the Israeli judicial system is independent and can handle complaints on the matter of alleged war crimes” is incorrect. Past experience shows that the opposite is true and that Israeli authorities have demonstrated that they are incapable of investigating allegations of Israeli breaches of humanitarian law in the Gaza Strip.
On 21 May 2015, Yihya al-‘Amudi, 10, lost his eye after being hit by a black sponge round fired at him by an Israeli Border Police officer. This ammunition, used by the police since last year, does not cause severe injury if used according to regulations. However, ACRI has documented numerous instances in which sponge rounds were fired contrary to regulations, resulting in injuries to individuals not involved in clashes and killing one 15-year-old. Lack of accountability for wrongful firing makes the next lethal incident only a matter of time.
Media reports state that Khader ‘Adnan was released on 12 July 2015, in accordance with the agreement reached by his legal counsel and Israel’s military prosecution, and under which ‘Adnan also ended his hunger strike on 29 June 2015. ‘Adnan, a resident of ‘Araba in the West Bank, was striking to protest being held in administrative detention for a cumulative period of nearly six years, without any charges being brought against him.
At around 11:00 P.M. on Monday 29 June 2015, Palestinians fired from a moving vehicle at four Israelis who were driving along the Elon Road, near the settlement of Shvut Rachel on their way home from a basketball game at a nearby settlement. All four passengers were injured in the drive-by shooting. Malachi Rosenfeld, 25, who lives in the settlement of Kochav Hashachar, sustained critical wounds to which he succumbed the following day, Tuesday 30 June 2015. B’Tselem expresses shock at the killing and conveys its sincerest condolences to the Rosenfeld family and its wishes for a speedy recovery to the other wounded men.
B’Tselem harshly condemns any deliberate attack on civilians.
On 1 July 2015 , the police sealed the home of ‘Udai Abu al-Jamal, one of the perpetrators of the Har Nof synagogue attack last November. His family received a demolition order two days after the attack, and a petition filed by HaMoked to stop it was rejected. Sealing a home is a draconian, vindictive measure taken against an entire family, suspected of nothing.