Video apparently showing the moment when two Palestinian teenagers were fatally shot during Nakba demonstrations in the West Bank last week has been released by an non-governmental organization.
The two victims were named by local media as 17-year old Nadim Siyam Nuwarah and Muhammad Audah Abu al-Thahir, who was either 15 or 16. Both teens were shot on separate occasions at a protest near Ofer Military Prison in the occupied West Bank on May 15, and had reportedly been throwing rocks.
Footage purported to show both incidents was released by the Palestinian branch of Defense for Children International. In it, a protester prepares to throw a stone with a slingshot, then seven minutes later, according to the video timestamp, a youth walking along the street falls to the ground as those around him duck, seemingly from gunfire. A little over an hour afterwards, another young man walking away from the direction of the clashes collapses. Again, nearby demonstrators dive for cover.
Two youths were shot and killed on May 15 during Nakba demonstrations.
Brad Parker, an attorney and International Advocacy Officer with Defence for Children International Palestine (DCIP,) told VICE News that the organization obtained the footage on Monday. A DCIP field worker also gathered pictures of the scene and eye witness testimony shortly after the incidents took place, he said.
Palestinians sources quoted by the English language version of Israeli Haaretz newspaper said both Nuwara and Thaher were shot by border police, and that both were hit in the chest with live ammunition. Three more youths were also hospitalized, it said, one with a chest injury and two with bullet wounds to the limbs.
An Israeli military spokesperson said only rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas were used at the location of the incident and that it was investigating the boys' deaths, Haaretz added.
However Parker said that the footage "clearly show two kids being hit directly with something other than a rubber bullet," and that eyewitnesses DCIP spoke with said the shots were fired from Israeli positions around 300 yards away. The DCIP fieldworker who investigated the incident found spent ammunition shells at the same spot. Some, Parker said, looked new, although it was not possible to confirm that they were from May 15.
He added that DCIP is currently in discussion with he victims' families about pursuing complaints with both the Israeli Army and international bodies. He is not optimistic that they will be successful however.
"We think the likelihood of having an impartial, open and thorough investigation opened is very slim,” he said. “But we think that the key to child protection in occupied Palestinian territories is accountability, because Israeli soldiers can do whatever they want at the moment with essentially no repercussions.”
Further footage taken, according to the uploader, moments before the first shooting, shows the protest and an Israeli soldier firing a rifle from behind cover.
Fakher Zayed, points to where Israeli soldiers were deployed when live ammunition was fired on May 15, 2014 near Ofer military prison. Photo credit: DCI-Palestine
A truck passes in front of the building where two Palestinian teens were shot on May 15, 2014 in the West Bank city of Betunia, as seen from behind concrete barriers used by Israeli soldiers. Photo credit: DCI-Palestine
Amnesty International recently accused Israel of showing a "callous disregard for human life" in its dealings with Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank. In a report released earlier this year, Amnesty said dozens of Palestinians, including children, had been killed by Israeli forces with essential immunity since 2011 — 22 in 2013 alone. The rights organization said that in all of the cases it investigated, the victims did not seem to be posing a direct or immediate threat to Israeli lives, and that evidence suggested some were willfully killed.
Amnesty International added that 261 Palestinians have been injured in the West Bank with live ammunition since January 2011 and that 8,000 more, including 1,500 children, were wounded by tear gas canisters, rubber bullets and other means.
May 15 was the 66th anniversary of Nakba Day, when Palestinians fled or were forcibly evicted from their hometowns during the fighting surrounding the 1948 Israeli Declaration of Independence.
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