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CMEP Bulletin: Israeli Military Use of Force Questioned After Deaths

Written by Churches for Middle East Peace
February 5, 2013

In the month of January, the Israeli military has acknowledged responsibility for the deaths of four unarmed Palestinians in the West Bank leading to increased scrutiny of the military’s rules of engagement. Coinciding with these events is a report released by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem that investigates protestor deaths caused by the Israeli military’s use of “non-lethal” crowd control weapons.

Here is a list of the recent incidents in the West Bank:

12 January 2013: Udai Darwish, 21, from the Hebron District was fatally shot by soldiers after crossing the Separation Barrier into Israel on his way to work, for which he didn’t have a permit. An Israeli army spokesman said, “a man attempted to infiltrate Israel through its security fence. Soldiers at the scene acted in accordance with IDF rules of engagement and fired at his legs. The incident is currently being investigated."

15 January 2013: Samir Awad, 17 from Budrus was fatally shot four times by soldiers beside the Separation Barrier as he was running away. According to villagers, Samir was grabbed by soldiers who were concealed in a trench on his way home from school. He broke free and was running away when a soldier or soldiers opened fire. He was hit by three or four bullets, in his leg, torso, and head. The IDF said the teen and his friends were "attempting to infiltrate into Israel.” The military also confirmed soldiers used live fire and that an investigation is under way.

18 January 2013: Saleh al-Amarin, 15, from Bethlehem died five days after receiving a gunshot wound in the head. He sustained this shot during street clashes near an Israeli army watchtower on the outskirts of the Aida refugee camp. Friends and family of the teen say he was on his way to a nearby print shop to copy some papers for a school assignment. The IDF said the teenager had been hurling stones with a slingshot and the military advocate general's office has ordered the military police to investigate the incident.

23 January 2013: Lubna al-Hanash, 21, from Bethlehem was fatally shot by soldiers on a college campus near a main road south of Bethlehem by an Israeli soldier driving a civilian car. Palestinian witnesses told reporters that two Israeli soldiers came out of the car, apparently after it was hit by stones, and opened fire in the direction of Palestinians standing at the entrance of a college near the camp. Israeli media quoted an army spokesman as saying that "an initial investigation revealed that an army squad was ambushed by firebombs and rocks…and opened fire, fearing for their lives."

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