Human Rights Watch Brands Videotaped Israeli Killings 'Apparent War Crime'

'Willful Killings' May Violate International Law

By JTA

Published June 09, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Human Rights Watch labeled the shooting deaths of two Palestinian teenagers by Israeli soldiers during a West Bank protest an Israeli war crime.

In a report titled “Killing of Children Apparent War Crime” published Monday, the human rights group said the soldiers used live ammunition during the May 15 demonstration in the town of Beitunia.

“The willful killing of civilians by Israeli security forces as part of the occupation is a war crime,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the Middle East and North Africa director of the New York-based organization. “Israel has a responsibility to prosecute the forces who targeted these teens, and also those responsible for assigning the use of live ammunition to police a demonstration.”

The Israeli military, which is investigating the deaths, has said its forces used rubber bullets and tear gas, not live fire. The report said it was “highly unlikely” that rubber bullets would have caused the injuries that killed the teens and injured another.

Human Rights Watch said one of the victim’s families retrieved a live bullet that they believe killed the teen.

“Offenses committed by Israeli security forces as part of the occupation, such as deliberate attacks on civilians, would be subject to prosecution under international humanitarian law as war crimes,” the report said. It added that “Israeli forces have repeatedly shot Palestinians who posed no imminent threat with live ammunition during similar protests.”

The teens were shot in three separate incidents but in approximately the same location during a demonstration on Nakba Day, which means catastrophe and marks the day that Israel became an independent state.

In a violent confrontation at the end of the rally, demonstrators threw rocks at the Israeli troops and the soldiers responded with rubber bullets, live ammunition and tear gas, according to the report.

Israeli officials have suggested that Palestinians or human rights organizations have doctored video evidence of the shootings or edited in a biased way. Palestinian journalists and security cameras filmed the shootings.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • "Everybody is proud of the resistance. No matter how many people, including myself, disapprove of or even hate Hamas and its ideology, every single person in Gaza is proud of the resistance." Part 2 of Walid Abuzaid's on-the-ground account of life in #Gaza:
  • After years in storage, Toronto’s iconic red-and-white "Sam the Record Man" sign, complete with spinning discs, will return to public view near its original downtown perch. The sign came to symbolize one of Canada’s most storied and successful Jewish family businesses.
  • Is $4,000 too much to ask for a non-member to be buried in a synagogue cemetery?
  • "Let’s not fall into the simplistic us/them dichotomy of 'we were just minding our business when they started firing rockets at us.' We were not just minding our business. We were building settlements, manning checkpoints, and filling jails." What do you think?
  • PHOTOS: 10,000 Israel supporters gathered for a solidarity rally near the United Nations in New York yesterday.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.