HEBRON, March 30, 2016 (WAFA) – Israeli forces overnight stormed the family house of Palestinian human rights worker who captured a video footage of an Israeli soldier killing a Palestinian in the Hebron neighborhood of Tal Rumeida.
Imad Abu Shamsiyyeh said that forces stormed his house in the H2 block of Hebron’s city center, where they inspected identity cards and passports of Palestinian and international activists who barricaded themselves inside the house following settlers’ threats to burn it.
Abu Shamsiyyeh, a human rights volunteer with Israeli group B‘Tselem, captured a video footage of the moment an Israeli soldier stepped forward and shot in the head at point-blank range in plain view of a medical team Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, a Palestinian who had already been shot and left motionless on the ground.
Al-Sharif and Ramzi al-Qasrawi, both 21, were shot down last Thursday after they allegedly stabbed and wounded an Israeli soldier in the Hebron neighborhood of Tal Rumeida.
The footage sparked a barrage of international and Palestinian condemnations, with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov slamming it as “extrajudicial killing” and “a gruesome, immoral and unjust act that can only fuel violence and escalate an already volatile situation.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initially denounced the killing, which he argued did “not represent the values of the IDF (Israeli ‘Defense Forces),” suggesting that the soldier’s behavior was not “in accordance with the rules of engagement.”
However, following criticisms of his remarks by rightwing Israeli officials, he Sunday backtracked from his initial condemnation.
“We are in a war against cruel terrorism,” Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on radio on Sunday. “This soldier is not a murderer, and a murder charge would be complete madness. I intend to see to it that this soldier gets a fair trial, not a kangaroo court.”
Responding to pressures, Netanyahu defended the military saying: “Challenging the morality of the IDF is outrageous and unacceptable,” and claiming that Israeli forces “maintain high ethical values while courageously fighting bloodthirsty murderers under difficult operational conditions.”
The killing has sparked a debate in Israel about Israeli forces lethal practices in response to a wave of Palestinian attacks, including many cases in which witnesses and human rights groups said that the alleged attackers no longer posed a threat and could have been detained.
The Palestinian leadership has requested that the UN open a official probe into Israel’s “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians.
Secretary-General of PLO Executive Committee Saeb Erekat said despite that the Israeli government announced an investigation into the “brutal execution” of al-Sharif. Based on historic facts, the Israeli investigations have yet to serve justice. On the contrary, horrendous crimes, such as the assassination of Rachel Corrie, have been rewarded with impunity.”
“These executions are not isolated events and Israel must be held accountable for committing these crimes,” he added.