Yesterday, Tuesday November 19,in the evening, an extra-judicial assassination killed Tareq Zaghal (20) alongside four civilians, including a child.
According to information gathered by LAW, at around 4:40pm on Tuesday, a group of ‘Musta’ribeen’ (Special Israeli forces who disguise themselves as Palestinians) exploited Iftar time (when Palestinian Muslims break their fast at sunset) and entered an eastern suburb of Tulkarem in civilian car in civilian clothes and surrounded a residential building of four stories. In one of the apartments were a group of Palestinian activists from the al-Aqsa Brigades, the military wing of Fatah preparing to eat.
Some Palestinians recognized the Musta’ribeen, and began to warn the activists. A group of youth gathered and began to throw stones at them. Immediately the Musta’ribeen began firing at them, shooting ‘Alam al-Zalqa (16) in the chest. He was killed instantly.
The activists attempted to flee, and at that point the Musta’ribeen opened fire at them, shooting Tareq Zaghal (20), who fell on the floor. The Musta’ribeen surrounded him and demanded to know who he was, and asked for his ID card. When they confirmed his identity, they shot him in the neck, killing him instantly. A medical source at Dr. Thabet hospital that Zaghal’s hands were tied behind his back. It appeared that he was shot in the neck after his hands had been tied behind his back.
After a short amount of time, Israeli troops arrived to assist the Musta’ribeen, and opened fire at any moving object. At that time, they opened fire on Ziyad Mashaqi (30) a security guard in the neck and was killed instantly.
At around 5:30 in the evening, Ahmad Jayyousi (37) was returning home in a taxi driven by Sha‘ban Badeer (30). Israeli forces also opened fire on them without warning. Jayyousi was shot in the neck and hands. Badeer was shot in the chest and shoulders. Both were killed instantly.
Ten other civilians were injured, including five children, one of whom was arrested and taken to an unknown destination.
According to LAW’s findings, at least 179 Palestinians have so far been killed in extra-judicial executions committed by Israel, including 68 Palestinian bystanders. LAW emphasizes that extra-judicial executions constitute willful killings, which are a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and as such constitute war crimes subject to universal jurisdiction.
Extra-judicial killings cannot be reconciled with the Fourth Geneva Convention, which seek to protect the lives of protected persons, and violate human rights norms that affirm the right to life and the prohibition on execution of civilians. The circumstances under which most extra-judicial executions are carried out, suggest complete disregard for the risk involved to the lives of bystanders.
LAW strongly condemns Israel’s assassination policy. Israel is legally responsible for the acts of its agents, and is under corresponding obligations to ensure that its agents adhere to the Convention and to prosecute those agents who commit grave breaches.
All state signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention have also the right and are under a positive obligation to seek out and prosecute individuals responsible for committing or commissioning grave breaches, wherever the perpetrators are. Article 148 of the Fourth Geneva states that ‘no High Contracting Party shall be allowed to absolve itself or any other High Contracting Party of any liability incurred by itself or by any other High Contracting Party…’
Israel’s ongoing human rights violations further illustrates the need for the immediate deployment of an international protection presence to prevent violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention and to protect Palestinian protected persons within the Occupied Palestinian Territories.