Israeli soldiers shot and killed an unarmed Palestinian boy when he was running away from them last month, newly released video shows.
The security camera footage, published on Tuesday by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, shows Israeli forces firing on a group of youths during a night raid on Beit Rima, a village near the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.
Ahmad Zeidani, 17, was killed and a 25-year-old resident of the village was also shot and injured during the raid.
According to B’Tselem’s investigation, when Israeli military vehicles arrived in the area that night, dozens of Palestinian youths attempted to block their passage by barricading the main road in Beit Rima.
Three Israeli military and Border Police jeeps stopped at the barricade.
“More than 10 Border Police officers and soldiers got out of the jeeps and deployed at the site, which was brightly lit,” B’Tselem stated.
“The youths, who were dispersed around the square, threw stones at the officers and soldiers, and they responded by firing teargas canisters and live ammunition.”
A half an hour after the Israeli forces’ arrival, the youths moved to a yard opposite where a group of soldiers were standing, in order to throw stones.
“One of the youths in the area threw a bottle of paint at the window of one of the jeeps in order to obscure its field of vision. Shortly after, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the jeeps from the direction of one of [the] nearby houses,” B’Tselem said.
Shot while running away
One of the youths who confronted the soldiers told B’Tselem that after the Molotov cocktail landed, the soldiers “started to shoot massively. One of the soldiers must have aimed at Ahmad [Zeidani], who managed to throw the stone [he was holding] and run away before they fired seven to 10 shots at him.”
The witness added: “He was hit, called out ‘ow’ just one time, and then fell to the ground. I began to shout, ‘Ahmad’s hit, Ahmad’s hit.’ I turned around to run away and then a bullet hit me.”
Zeidani and the other injured youth, not named by B’Tselem, were transferred to a hospital, but Zeidani died before arrival.
B’Tselem stated that the youths were “some 10 to 20 meters away from the soldiers and officers, and they were running away from them. There was no justification for shooting them and this action was unlawful.”
Thirty-five Palestinian children were killed by Israeli forces and private security guards last year, all but four of them in the West Bank. Defense for Children International Palestine called it the deadliest year for Palestinian children in the West Bank in the past decade.
Last week, Israeli soldiers shot and killed Qusay al-Amour, 17, in Tuqu, a village near the West Bank city of Bethlehem.
Video from the scene shows Israeli soldiers violently dragging away the boy after he was shot.
The army claimed that al-Amour was the main instigator of confrontations with Israeli forces in the village that day.
The Palestinian rights group Badil said the youth’s slaying “amounts to an extrajudicial killing.”
“Taking into account the audiovisual evidence and eyewitness testimonies, it can be concluded that whether he was throwing stones at the soldiers or not, al-Amour could not have presented a lethal threat to the well-protected Israeli Border Police from a distance of around 100 meters, and the use of live ammunition against him was therefore unjustified,” Badil stated.
Israel’s justice ministry announced a joint investigation into the incident by the army and police.
Only rarely do such routine probes result in punishment of the soldiers involved, leading B’Tselem to end cooperation with the military’s internal investigative unit, calling it “a fig leaf for the occupation.”
“In short, systemic impunity means Israeli forces are free to carry out grave violations with confidence they will never be held culpable,” Ayed Abu Eqtaish, a program director at Defense for Children International Palestine, stated after the slaying of al-Amour.
In only a handful of cases have Israeli soldiers been prosecuted for manslaughter since the year 2000. Only two soldiers have been convicted – one for the killing of Tom Hurndall, a British solidarity activist, and the other for the videotaped execution of Abd al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif last year.