B’Tselem’s investigation found that, contrary to official Israeli statements, Barghouti did not try to flee or run anyone over, nor could he have tried: two security vehicles blocked the taxi he was driving at either end, and he was surrounded by some 10 security personnel who shot him point-blank–an operation resembling an extrajudicial killing. Official attempts to sanction the killing in retrospect ensure no one will be held accountable.
On 14 Dec. '18, soldiers came to al-Jalazun R.C. after residents threw stones at them and began chasing uninvolved youths. They shot one - Mahmoud Nakhleh, 18 - in the back as he fled from 80 meters away, and then prevented residents from helping him and dragged him around. Only after 15 minutes did they permit his transferal to hospital, where he was pronounced dead. All the military personnel involved, whether the ground soldiers or the officials who issued a falsified statement to justify the shooting, conveyed disrespect for the injured youth's humanity and confidence that this case will be whitewashed like thousands of others.
In 2018, Israeli security forces killed 290 Palestinians, including 55 minors. Of the casualties, 254 were killed in the Gaza Strip, 34 in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and two within Israel. These incidents are a direct result of Israel’s reckless open-fire policy, authorized by the government and the top military command, and backed by the judicial system. As long as Israel adheres to this policy, despite its predictable outcomes, the casualties will continue to amass.
"The policemen took me into Abu a-Rish Checkpoint (the Pharmacy Checkpoint) and kept me shut in a room there for about an hour. I cried and the soldiers cursed me. Then they put me into a white car. I heard the other boy who was arrested with me asking a woman soldier where they were taking us, and she answered, ‘To prison.” From the testimony of Zeid Taha, 6 years old, who was detained in Hebron by Border Police.
On the night of 4 Dec. 2018, some 100 soldiers invaded Tulkarm. At 2:25 A.M., three Israeli soldiers headed towards some young Palestinians who were standing by a restaurant. At 80 meters away they stopped and opened fire, fatally hitting Muhammad Habali (22) in the head – from behind – and injuring another man. Testimonies and CCTV footage from four cameras show that, contrary to the military’s claim, the area was peaceful at the time. While the military announced it would investigate, this usually serves appearances and to silence criticism, so use of lethal force can continue unchecked.
On Friday, 26 Oct, 2018, dozens of settlers tried yet again to invade an archeological site on land belonging to the village of al-Mazra'ah al-Qibliyah, escorted by security forces, as they have done over the last few months. They soon retreated, but clashes between the forces and residents continued. Later, when the forces began to leave, several dozen young men from the village ran after them. When they got close, at least one Border Police officer fired at them, wounding nine, two of whom died afterwards. Settlers frequently invade Palestinian-owned land with security forces’ backup. Yet the lethal outcome of this incident is unusual and defies every letter of the open fire regulations.
Since the Return Protests began along the Gaza fence, Israeli forces have killed at least 31 Palestinian minors - 21 of them under the age of 16, and three only 11 years old. In October we published the findings of our investigation into the killing of 4 minors; we now report our findings regarding another 4. None of them posed a danger to security forces; the killing of all was a direct result of the unlawful open-fire policy that Israel is applying in the area.
On 14 Sept. 2018, at a Return Protest east of al-Bureij R.C., Muhammad Shaqurah (20) torched a tire near the fence, tied a bit of wire to the fence, tugged it and let go. After rejoining other protesters about 20 meters away, he was shot and killed by Israeli troops on the other side of the fence, although he was endangering no one at the time. The killing of Shaqurah and 170 other Palestinians, incl. 31 minors, is the direct and predictable outcome of the policy to open lethal fire at protesters near the fence, evincing the disregard of Israeli authorities for the lives of Palestinians.
On 10 Aug. 2018, thousands of Palestinians held a demonstration east of Rafah. Some burned tires and threw stones at Israeli forces on the other side of the fence. The forces fired tear gas and live bullets, killing three demonstrators. B'Tselem found that two of those killed were not endangering the forces in any way. These fatalities are the direct result of Israel’s open-fire policy, and another example of the lack of concern shown by Israeli authorities for Palestinian life and limb.
In protests near the Gaza fence from 30 March to 8 Oct. 2018, Israeli forces shot and killed at least 166 Palestinians, 31 of them minors, and injured more than 5,300 with live gunfire. Most of those killed or injured did not endanger the forces, who were on the other side of the fence. The high casualty count is a direct result of Israel’s open-fire policy in the area. Its lethal outcomes, which are well-known, convey the Israeli authorities’ disregard for the life and death of Palestinians. Testimonies regarding the killing of four of the minors follow.
Israel’s regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end the occupation, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.