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Israeli occupation forces executed an injured Palestinian in Hebron on Thursday [29 October 2015], an eyewitness has told The Electronic Intifada. Video corroborates this clear case of extrajudicial execution, a war crime and part of a pattern of such killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces. Five Palestinians have been killed since Thursday, bringing the total this month to 71, according to the Palestinian Authority health ministry. This number includes five Palestinians (1) who died as a possible result of tear gas inhalation, delayed medical treatment due to checkpoints and medical neglect by prison authorities. Fifteen of the dead are children. Nine Israelis (2) were slain in the same period.
More than 1200 Palestinians, including at least 256 children, have been injured by Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 20 October, the United Nations monitoring group OCHA (3) reported (4).
Mahdi Muhammad Ramadan al-Muhtasib, 23, was killed by Israeli soldiers in Hebron on Thursday after he allegedly lightly injured (5) an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint with a knife. This video published at the Facebook page “Ramallah Mix” (6) shows the injured al-Muhtasib lying on the ground.
Video : حصري : لحظة اعدام الشهيد مهدي المحتسب بدم بارد بالخليل
An Israeli soldier stands at a distance of several meters. Al-Muhtasib moves and the soldier, still at a distance of several meters, aims his rifle at him and fires. Al-Muhtasib continues to writhe on the ground as the soldier moves around him. Two more soldiers then approach al-Muhtasib but at no point is he provided medical assistance. The one-and-a-half minute video shows one shot clearly being fired at the already injured and immobilized al-Muhtasib, but an eyewitness told The Electronic Intifada that many more shots had been fired. Isa Ajlouni, who lives in an apartment building next to the checkpoint, told The Electronic Intifada that he heard approximately five shots in close succession. “I went to the window and saw the young man wounded, lying on the ground”, he said. He added that he looked around and saw an Israeli soldier walk over to al-Muhtasib’s fallen body. The soldier stood right above al-Muhtasib, who was still moving, and fired six bullets into his body. Ajlouni said that he also saw a bleeding Israeli officer by the checkpoint.
A second video, published (7) by the Hebron group Youth Against Settlements (8), shows al-Muhtasib lying on the ground with soldiers milling around him. It then shows another close-up of al-Muhtasib, but this time he is covered in much more blood. Israeli personnel then drag his body, put it on a stretcher, photograph and cover it. It also clearly shows the faces of soldiers and officers involved in this slaying. The soldiers are wearing vests that identify them as belonging to Israel’s paramilitary Border Police.
Video : Extrajudicial execution of Mahdi Mohtaseb صور اولية لاعدام مهدي المحتسب
After al-Muhtasib’s killing, youths began throwing stones at the checkpoint and Israeli forces opened fire. Throughout the day, the Israeli military fired sound grenades, tear gas and rubber-coated bullets at protesters in the Old City of Hebron.
On 27 October, Amnesty International said (9) it had documented at least four other recent instances “in which Palestinians were deliberately shot dead by Israeli forces when they posed no imminent threat to life, in what appear to have been extrajudicial executions”. Three of the killings were in Hebron and one was in occupied East Jerusalem.
Hisham Sharabati, a field researcher with the human rights group Al-Haq (10), told The Electronic Intifada that he believes Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy is intended to deter Palestinians from resisting. Another factor, he said, is that Israeli soldiers at the checkpoints are trigger happy, a situation likely made worse by the inciting portrayals of knife-wielding Palestinians in the Israeli media.
Human rights groups have condemned (11) top Israeli police and political leaders for inciting summary executions.
On Wednesday [28 October 2015], Israeli authorities announced (12) that Isra Abed had not attempted, and had no intention, of stabbing anyone before she was shot multiple times and seriously injured in Afula, a city in the north of present-day Israel, earlier this month. The Palestinian citizen of Israel from Nazareth will be released without charge.
Meanwhile, Israel has charged (13) 13-year-old Ahmad Manasra (14) with attempted murder for his part in an alleged stabbing attack at an Israeli settlement in East Jerusalem earlier this month. Mansara was seen in a video (15) lying on the ground covered in blood as Israelis shouted obscenties at him and told him to die. His 15-year-old cousin Hasan Khalid Manasra was shot dead by police during the incident.
Video : Settler chants die ! as Palestinian boy bleeds (English\Spanish)
Later on Thursday [29 October 2015], Israeli forces in Hebron shot dead 19-year-old Farouq Abdulqadir Omar Sidr near the Beit Hadassah settlement. Israel claimed he tried to stab a soldier at a checkpoint. A Palestinian woman in the area at the time told the Ma’an News Agency (16) that she “heard gunshots and saw Israeli soldiers and settlers firing at a young Palestinian man while he was walking down a staircase”, adding that she did not see anything in his hands.
Today [30 October 2015], Amnesty International called on Israel (17) to “protect Palestinian civilians from attacks by Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank and ensure effective investigation of all attacks”. It noted in particular the killing of 18-year-old Palestinian Fadil Qawasmi (18) by a settler in Hebron on 17 October. “Settlers have long attacked and harassed Palestinians in Hebron and the rest of the occupied West Bank with impunity, and sometimes with the apparent assistance or acquiescence of Israeli forces”, Amnesty said.
International activists reported Friday (19) [30 October 2015] that Israel has declared the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron’s Old City a closed military zone to Palestinians, except for residents who will have to register with the army in order to access their homes.
On Friday [30 October 2015], Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinians and an infant died after inhaling tear gas. Eight-month-old Ramadan Muhammad Faisal Thawabta died after inhaling tear gas fired by the Israeli military at nearby protestors in Beit Fajjar, a village south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health ministry sources said (20).
Earlier on Friday [30 October 2015], at a checkpoint near Nablus in the northern West Bank, Israeli forces shot two Palestinians (21) after they allegedly tried to stab a Border Police officer. Qasim Mahmoud Sabaneh, 20, was immediately killed, while another youth was left in critical condition. The name of the injured youth was not immediately available, but Palestinian media reported that he was 17 years old.
After noon prayers the same day, Israeli forces shot Ahmad Hamada Qneibi, 23, after he allegedly (22) tried to stab an Israeli near a light rail station outside the French Hill settlement in East Jerusalem. Israeli police later announced (23) that the critically injured Qneibi died after they took him into custody.
Thousands of Palestinians gathered in Hebron on Friday [30 October 2015] evening as the bodies of five slain Palestinian children, which had been withheld by Israeli forces, were transferred. The teenagers, all killed by Israeli forces this month in apparent extrajudicial executions, were Dania Irsheid (24), 17, Bayan al-Esseili (25), 16, Tariq Ziyad al-Natshe (26), 16, Husam Ismail al-Jabari, 17, and 15-year-old Bashar Nidal al-Jabari (27). They will be buried on Saturday.
In an escalation of its crackdown on Palestinians, Israel has reintroduced administrative detention (28), incarceration without charge or trial, for children. In the early hours of 19 October, Israeli forces arrested Fadi Hasan Abassi, 17, and Muhammad Saleh Ghaith, 17, from their homes in the Silwan (29) neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, according (30) to Defence for Children International – Palestine (31). A third boy, Mahmoud Sbaih, 17, was seized at his home in a predawn raid on 16 October in the city’s Jabal al-Mukabir neighborhood. All three youths are to be held for three to six months without trial on the orders of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon (32), allegedly for throwing stones.
Israel currently holds hundreds of Palestinian adults in administrative detention, a practice widely condemned by human rights groups. It has not been used against any Palestinian children in the occupied West Bank since 2011, according to Defence for Children International – Palestine. The children’s rights group says it has no record of administrative detention ever being used against children in East Jerusalem, part of the West Bank that Israel purports to have annexed in violation of international law.
The UN also noted this week (33) that investigations by several human rights organizations regarding an Israeli airstrike in Gaza on 11 October that killed a pregnant Palestinian and her baby (34) had “found that the missiles had directly hit the victims’ home, not weapon production sites belonging to members of armed forces”, as Israel had previously claimed.
Charlotte SILVER and Ali ABUNIMAH