Palestinian teen shot dead for throwing stones

Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian teenager in an occupied West Bank village on Thursday as video emerged of Border Police forces firing on a woman as she lay on the ground one day earlier.

Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr, 15, was shot dead in the Beit Ommar village near the West Bank city of Hebron.

An image of the boy circulated on social media:

The Israeli military claimed that Bahr was killed after he threw stones at an army patrol jeep.

“After being hit with the stones, the soldiers exited the jeep and were again pelted with rocks, injuring one lightly,” the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz reported.

“According to the [Israeli military], the soldiers initiated the army’s arrest protocol, at which point the Palestinian was killed,” Haaretz added.

The Israeli human rights group B’Tselem has previously stated that the military’s “open-fire regulations permit shooting at the legs of a suspect in order to facilitate his arrest.”

Referring to a February 2015 incident in which a Palestinian was killed after being shot in chest and head, the group added, “They do not permit killing him by firing three shots at his upper body.”

Palestinian health officials claimed that Israeli forces prevented Palestine Red Crescent emergency medics from gaining immediate access to Bahr, who was already dead by the time they were able to reach him.

Graphic video from the scene shows a Palestinian medic checking the boy’s pulse as soldiers stand nearby. Another segment of the video shows soldiers dispersing Palestinians who gathered at the scene, firing what appears to be tear gas.

The video also shows the medic examining Bahr’s bloodied body, explaining that a bullet entered the boy’s upper chest and exited his back.

Israeli forces transferred Bahr’s body to an unknown location, the Ma’an News Agency reported.

Woman shot while lying on ground

Meanwhile on Thursday, video emerged showing four Israeli Border Police combatants shooting at a Palestinian woman as she lay on the ground several feet away from them:

Rahiq Shaji Birawi, 23, was killed at the Zaatara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus on Wednesday. An Israeli police spokesperson claimed that the woman was killed as she approached the Border Police while brandishing a knife.

“Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Birawi approached Israeli border guards stationed at the Tappuah junction – the Israeli term for the area around the checkpoint – when they fired warning shots into the air,” the Ma’an News Agency reported.

“After she ‘ignored their directives and their calls for her to stop,’ Birawi allegedly pulled out a knife, and Israeli forces opened live fire and ‘neutralized’ her,” Ma’an added, citing the police statement.

A representative of Asira al-Shamaliya, the town where Birawi was from, told Ma’an that the woman had no political affiliation and that she was married to a man living in the United States.

The local council head added that Birawi’s father was detained by soldiers at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Tulkarm as he returned from a construction job after learning of his daughter’s slaying.

“Pattern of unlawful killings”

Amnesty International recently accused Israel of a “pattern of unlawful killings” carried out by its forces over the past year.

“These unlawful killings included cases … where Israeli forces used intentional lethal force against Palestinians who were not, or were no longer, posing an imminent threat to the lives of Israeli soldiers, police or civilians,” Amnesty stated.

Only one soldier has been indicted in connection to 20 cases of “evidently unlawful killings of Palestinians, including 15 possible extrajudicial executions,” Amnesty added.

That soldier, Elor Azarya, was charged with manslaughter after he was shown on video shooting at the head of a gravely wounded Palestinian as he lay on the ground.

During Azarya’s trial, a settler security chief told the court that shooting at the heads of incapacitated alleged Palestinian attackers is a common practice by Israeli occupation forces.

Approximately 250 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli uniformed forces, private security guards and armed civilians since October 2015, when a new phase of confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli forces began.

Thirty-five Israelis and two other foreign nationals were slain during the same period, according to Amnesty.

Many of those Palestinians were slain during demonstrations or army raids on West Bank refugee camps, towns and cities. But the majority – more than 150, according to Amnesty – were killed during the course of “alleged, attempted, or actual attacks … against Israeli soldiers, police and civilians.”

Those Palestinians slain in the course of alleged attacks, in addition to those killed during protests or army raids and airstrikes, have been overwhelmingly young. Defense for Children International – Palestine says that more than 50 boys and girls are among those killed in the West Bank alone, meaning that at least one in every five Palestinians killed since October was a child.

Also on Thursday, a Palestinian man died from wounds sustained during an Israeli army raid nearly 10 years earlier.

“The Makassed hospital announced the death of Mahmoud Jawda, who had been treated at the occupied East Jerusalem medical center ever since he was shot multiple times by Israeli forces during a military raid in Ramallah in 2007,” Ma’an reported.

An image of Jawda identifying him as from the Gaza Strip was circulated by the Palestinian Quds news outlet:


Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.