In new crime of using lethal force against civilians participating in peaceful protests, on Monday afternoon, 15 January 2018, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian in Jayous village, northeast of Qalqiliyah. This crime comes in light of the Israeli government’s escalation following the U.S. Decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on 06 December 2017. This crime and recent killings committed by the Israeli forces further prove that the latter deliberately claim as many victims as possible among the Palestinian protestors. The follow-up by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR’s) staff shows that the Israeli forces deliberately intensified the use of live ammunition to confront the unarmed civilians by directly sniping civilians in peaceful demonstrations, noting that the protestors did not pose any threat or danger to the life of Israeli soldiers.
According to PCHR’s investigations into this crime, at approximately 16:15 on Monday, 15 January 2018, Palestinian youngsters gathered in al-Mentar area adjacent to the annexation wall, west of Jayous village, northeast of Qalqiliyah, to protest against the U.S. President’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The protestors threw stones at the Israeli soldiers, who were guarding the wall. The protestors were then surprised with the Israeli soldiers intensively firing live bullets at them; around 20 bullets in a row, according to eyewitnesses. As a result, Ahmed ‘Abdel Jabbar Mohammed Salim (24) was hit with a bullet to the back of his head and immediately killed. The eyewitnesses said that the Israeli soldiers opened fire at the aforementioned civilian from a distance of 20 meters. Dr. Eyad Yousif Khaled al-Helou, who works in the Military Medical Services, declared the death of Salim immediately after his injury. Salim’s body was transferred to Dr. Darwish Nazzal Governmental Hospital in Qalqiliyah, but the soldiers stationed at the DCO checkpoint at the eastern entrance to the city stopped the ambulance transferring the body for 10 minutes at the checkpoint before allowing it to cross. It should be mentioned that the Israeli forces opened fire at Salim only after 5 minutes of his arrival at the confrontations. Moreover, the protesters were surprised with the use of live bullets as the Israeli forces daily use rubber-coated metal bullets in that area. Furthermore, Salim was a former prisoner, who served 3 years in the Israeli jails and was released in 2016. He was also a student in al-Quds Open University and owned a restaurant in the center of Jayous village.
PCHR follows up with deep concern the deterioration of the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) and is concerned over the use of lethal force against unarmed civilians participating in peaceful protests. PCHR hereby condemns the Israeli forces’ use of excessive, disproportionate and lethal force against the protestors and believes that this is due to the green light given by the Israeli government to the soldiers following the American Decision to declare Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel. Therefore, this constitutes a direct complicity in a crime of offensive and indirectly threatens the international peace and security.
PCHR calls upon the international community and UN bodies to stop the Israeli escalating crimes and violations and work on providing international protection for Palestinians in the oPt.
PCHR also reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances and their obligations under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions regarding the guarantee of Palestinian civilians’ right to protection in the oPt.