Update: On 18 April 2016 the soldier who shot ‘Abd al-Fatah a-Sharif was indicted on charges of manslaughter and misconduct. On 9 May 2016 his trial began at the Jaffa Military Court. On 4 January 2017 the shooter was convicted of manslaughter and misconduct. On 21 February 2017 he was sentenced to 18 months in prison, an 18-month suspended sentence, and being demoted to the rank of private.
This morning, according to media reports, Palestinians Ramzi al-Qasrawi and ‘Abd al-Fatah a-Sharif were shot after stabbing a soldier in Tel Rumeida, Hebron. The soldier sustained medium-level injuries. While al-Qasrawi died on the spot, a-Sharif was injured and fell to the ground. In video footage captured by Hebron resident ‘Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, who sent it to B’Tselem, he is seen lying on the road injured, with none of the soldiers or medics present giving him first aid or paying him any attention at all. At a certain point, a soldier is seen aiming his weapon at a-Sharif and shooting him in the head from close range, killing him. Although this occurs in the plain view of other soldiers and officers, they do not seem to take any notice.
Video: ‘Imad Abu Shamsiyeh
The wave of violence that began in October 2015 is shocking and Israeli security forces must use all the force necessary, depending on the circumstances, to protect the public. The law is clear: shooting to kill is only permitted when the person is endangering the lives of others. Once the danger is over, he or she must not be harmed.
Extrajudicial street killings are the direct consequence of inflammatory remarks made by Israeli ministers and officials, augmented by the general public atmosphere of dehumanization. Some top officials have commented, here and there, on the importance of abiding by the law and refraining from use of excessive force. This includes a recent public statement made by the chief of staff and comments included in a formal letter by the minister of defense to B’Tselem in response to a query. However, the law enforcement authorities are by and large turning a blind eye to repeated grave suspicions of extrajudicial killing by the security forces, and these backed in the field by commanders. The message to the Israeli public is undeniable: attempting to injure a civilian or a soldier is a death sentence.