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IDF Lies About Deaths of Palestinian Youths

Amer Nasser brought to West Bank hospital after IDF allowed him to bleed to death

In the aftermath of the death of Palestinian prisoner, Maissara Abu Hamdiyeh, from cancer, unrest spread throughout the West Bank, leading to youth protests against Occupation forces.  In one of those protests outside Tulkarem, several teenage boys were throwing rocks at an IDF “pillbox.”  In the midst of this, the soldiers manning the position, who hail from an ultra-Orthodox unit known to include many ultra-nationalist settlers, used live fire and killed one of the boys instantly.  The others fled, pursued by soldiers who ran out of their fortified position to track them down.  In this pursuit of unarmed boys, another was shot and killed by the IDF.  He was shot in the back.  Yet the soldier who killed him claimed he did so out of fear for his life.  You don’t shoot an unarmed boy in the back because you fear for your life.

The justification offered by the IDF for the killings was that the youths were throwing fire-bombs at them.  The only reference I’ve heard from the Palestinian side that supports this is one of the survivors who said that while he was throwing stones, he noted a “bottle” (not a firebomb) next to Amar Nasser’s body.  We may presume he intended to use this as a firebomb, but clearly since it was next to his body it hadn’t been thrown.  Which means that someone may or may not have thrown firebombs at this position.  It may or may not have been one of the murdered boys.  The only way to answer the question is for the IDF to release video footage (unedited) of the incident.  This will corroborate the army’s story if true.

Palestinians who attempted to approach Nasser who lay wounded (three bullets in the chest) at the scene were forbidden from doing so.  A Palestinian ambulance was prevented from attending to him for 30 minutes, during which he died.  Allowing the boy to bleed to death was a deliberate act of murder.  The wounded survivor of the group said that he searched for the second boy who died but his body was not found till the next day.  This leads him to believe that he was apprehended by the IDF and similarly killed or shot during a pursuit.  The fact that no one found his body till the next day is a mystery the IDF should explain.

The army has also claimed that a lookout told the unit that he had heard weapons fired by Palestinians.  Again, we don’t know if there was such a report or whether this is made up after the fact.  But even if it there was, the report turned out to be false.  As a result, two precious (at least to Palestinians, if not the IDF) lives are lost unnecessarily and the West Bank is thrust to the bring of a third Intifada.

By the way, can anyone explain to me why there needs to be an IDF presence at this particular location?  Why does there need to be any IDF presence on the West Bank in areas populated by Palestinians?  Isn’t that why there’s Palestinian security forces?  So to all those who will argue in the threads about how heinous it is to attack Israeli soldiers and you get what you deserve if you do so I respond: the existence of IDF position in the West Bank is itself an unnecessary provocation.  If the IDF wasn’t there, there would be nothing to protest.  If however the IDF wants to provoke Palestinians to violence, then putting its positions right in the midst of Palestinian population centers is a great idea.

Further, stationing the most extreme of Haredi settler soldiers in such an exposed position is another disaster waiting to happen.  What do you expect such a boy to do when faced with Palestinian resistance of even the most limited sort?  Do you think he will exercise caution?  That he will think of the consequences of his actions?  That he will forebear using his weapons to wipe out the perceived threat?

The IDF has announced an “investigation” of the incident: good luck with that!

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • Elad R April 5, 2013, 8:32 AM

    Your headline states :IDF Lies About Deaths of Palestinian Youths
    however in the post itself you say “Which means that someone may or may not have thrown firebombs at this position.”
    if someone threw a Molotov cocktail at the outpost then how exactly the IDF lies ?
    You say you don’t know what happened, yet your headline presents a fault.

    Just out of curiosity, are you in the habit of walking to remote locations with empty bottles ? I usually take empty bottles to the recycling center.

    I don’t know what happened, but based on what you published it seems that your headline isn’t very logical or justified.

    • Richard Silverstein April 5, 2013, 2:30 PM

      The following are the lies in the IDF story as I see it: there was no Palestinian weapons fire. There was no imminent threat to the soldier who shot the Palestinian youth in the back. There was no justification for the use of live fire. Nor justification for pursuit & liquidating the two boys.

      There may or may not have been firebombs assaulting the IDF position. But I’d like to see video before judging. The boys shot may or may not have been throwing firebombs. Again, I’d like to see the video before judging.

      Mere IDF claims aren’t enough for me,

  • Elad R April 5, 2013, 3:20 PM

    1. Neither you or I have been there. You don’t know what was the sequence of events, whether or not Molotov Bottles were thrown at the outpost or if shots were fired.
    2. IDF never claimed shots were fired at the outpost. IDF spokeperson did claim that one of the Palestinian who attacked the outpost was armed. see walla report here http://news.walla.co.il/?w=/2689/2630269
    3. Assuming Molotov Bottles were thrown at the outpost, don’t you think it’s justification for hot pursuit ?

    In short, you are jumping to conclusions and you have no evidence to support your claims. You may be right, you may not be.

    • Daniel April 5, 2013, 4:21 PM


      The so-called “Defense Forces” should not have been there in the first place, let alone fired live ammo at the youths, let alone shot them, let alone murdered them. It’s really quite simple.

      • Elad R April 5, 2013, 6:18 PM

        That is besides the point.
        Israel is a democracy with a mandatory military service. Soldiers do not select the tasks appointed to them.
        As long as the Israeli governments and the Palestinian government (are we talking Hamas of Fatah ?) will not reach an agreement or unless otherwise ordered by the Israeli government the IDF will stay in its current positions.
        Big portion of the soldiers task is to secure their environment, if those kids were throwing Molotov Bottles they did put the life of those soldiers stationed there at risk and they were force to react.

        • Richard Silverstein April 5, 2013, 8:24 PM

          Israel is a democracy

          You’re about the 50th Israel booster who’s written this. Saying it 50 times doesn’t make it true. And it isn’t.

          Eventually, the IDF will be forced to leave its positions. If it takes too long for this to happen, Israel is lost.

          Molotov cocktails (& as I said we have no confirmation that this was the case) don’t justify cold blooded murder. THe soldier pursued a boy who no longer had weapons & killed him with a bullet in the back. That is indefensible. Period.

        • Davey April 5, 2013, 11:09 PM

          No — it is not “besides the point.” It is precisely the point, the point at which the scales of justice tip strongly. It is the point.

        • Daniel April 6, 2013, 5:23 AM

          You mean the soldiers were “only following orders”? Where have we heard that before?

          It is required, not only under the Geneva Conventions, but also the obligations of basic human decency, for soldiers to disobey orders that are illegal; i. e., orders which are themselves in violation of the Geneva Conventions and any number of other international and applicable laws, such as, “Take up this position in occupied civilian territory, arm yourselves with lethal weapons and live ammunition, and mercilessly shoot to death anyone, man, woman or child, who notably demonstrates against, menaces or threatens your position, whether they are organized or not, whether they are armed or not, whether they are fleeing or not, whether they are wounded and disabled or not. Even if the threat is neutralized, deny them medical assistance; make sure they die.”

          Issuing such an order would be illegal, not disobeying it would be doubly illegal, and taking the action would be triply illegal.

    • Richard Silverstein April 5, 2013, 8:26 PM

      @EladR: You haven’t read the news reports. The IDF is claiming a lookout reported Palestinian gunfire. The IDF says the look out was wrong & there was none. I frankly doubt there was a lookout or, if there was, that the lookout reported this. But whether there was such a report or not, the killing is still unjustified. The Molotov cocktails seem to be Plan B now that the gunfire claim is discredited.

  • Nora Lester Murad April 5, 2013, 10:37 PM

    For me, the question (at this point) isn’t what happened. It is: Will there be a REAL investigation and if wrongdoing is found, will there be REAL consequences. IDF and police have a long, documented history of failure on these accounts. See my Guardian piece about Ziad Jilani at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/21/ziad-jilani-palestinian-human-rights (case now under consideration by Israeli Supreme Court).

  • mary April 6, 2013, 12:02 AM

    It certainly cannot be correct military procedure to shoot a youth in the back and leave his body in a field, can it? This is not a battlefield, it is an occupation and I imagine it is not acceptable to shoot people in the back and leave them for dead.

    Oh, wait. It’s not acceptable to shoot people in the chest and allow them to bleed to death by denying the access of an ambulance, either.

    I think this is the point, @Elad.

    • Elad R April 6, 2013, 8:15 AM

      With your statement i absolutely agree.
      Furthermore, as an Ex soldier the solider’s behavior in this incident – if correctly reported – is a disgrace and a violation of IDF orders.
      We’ll have to wait and see.

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