Israel willfully kills two civilians at Nablus checkpoints

An Israeli soldiers watches Palestinians cross Huwwara checkpoint near the West Bank city of Nablus after a Palestinian man was shot dead there, 9 October 2006. (MaanImages/Rami Swidan)

Investigations Conducted by PCHR Indicate that IOF Willfully Killed 2 Palestinian Civilians at Military Checkpoints in Nablus

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) positioned at military checkpoints in Nablus killed two Palestinian civilians in less than 24 hours in two separate crimes. These latest crimes prove IOF’s disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians. PCHR condemns these crimes and asserts that the failure of the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949 to hold Israel accountable for crimes committed against Palestinian civilians serves to encourage IOF to commit more of such crimes.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 15:20 on Sunday, 8 October 2006, a number of Palestinian civilians were getting out of a car in al-Sateh area, nearly one kilometer away from Til village, southwest of Nablus. IOF soldiers in a military jeep, positioned on the bypass road located to the south of Nablus, opened fire at the car. As a result, Amjad Mohammed Mustafa al-Teerawi, 23, from Balata refugee camp east of Nablus, was killed by a live bullet to the head; and Ahmed Hazzaa’ Ramadan, 21, from Til village, was wounded by a live bullet to the shoulder.

Less than 24 hours later, IOF soldiers positioned at Hawara checkpoint, south of Nablus, committed a similar crime, when they shot dead a Palestinian civilian while attempting to cross the checkpoint. IOF claimed that the soldiers foiled an attempt by a young Palestinian man to stab an IOF solider.

In his testimony to PCHR, Hani Nayef Rawajba, 32, an eyewitness, from Roujib village east of Nablus, stated:

“At approximately 14:30 on Monday, 9 October 2006, I was in a debate with the officer of Hawara checkpoint as an IOF soldier took and held my identity card. While we were in the debate, I saw an IOF soldiers searching a Palestinian taxi. There was a box containing toy pistols in the taxi. One of the IOF soldiers, who were searching the taxi, called the officer to see the box. Soon, I saw a 20-year-old Palestinian, wearing a red shirt and black trousers walking towards the taxi that was being searched. He was only 10 meters away from the taxi. The soldier who was searching the taxi fired a live bullet at the young man. The young man kneeled and I did not know whether he was wounded. Without asking the soldier about what happened, the officer joined the soldier in firing at the young man. They shot him dead with 3 live bullets. IOF soldiers prevented Palestinian civilians from offering him any help. Soon, an ambulance of Palestine Red Crescent Society arrived at the area. The driver was in the ambulance alone, I and other civilians attempted to help him to carry the young man’s body into the ambulance, but IOF soldiers prevented of us and two of them put him on a stretcher. The driver then pushed the stretcher into the ambulance. I asked the driver about the victim’s identity, and he told me that his name is Mohammed Waleed Mustafa Sa’ada, from Til village near Nablus.”

PCHR strongly condemns these latest crimes, and:

1. Asserts that the policy of killing practiced by IOF against Palestinian civilians serves to increase tension in the area and threatens the lives of civilians.
2. Expresses utmost concerns for the safety of Palestinian civilians in light of the escalation in the use of force by IOF against them.
3. Calls upon the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to immediately and effectively intervene to provide protection for Palestinian civilians.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an independent legal body based in Gaza City dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, the Federation Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. PCHR is a recipient of the 1996 French Republic Award for Human Rights.