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Ref: 61/2017

In two separate crimes, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian civilians, south and center of the West Bank. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) strongly condemns these two crimes, which prove that Israeli forces continue to commit crimes against Palestinians in disregard for their lives. PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate action in order to put an end to the Israeli crimes.

According to PCHR’s investigations concerning the first crime, at approximately 06:00 on Friday, 14 July 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with several military jeeps and dozens of infantry units moved into al-Dheisheh refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. They stationed in the center of the main street, and the soldiers stepped out of the jeeps and surrounded many houses in order to raid them. The soldiers raided and searched 2 houses belonging to Mo’ath Abu Nassar and Mohammed ‘Obaid and then arrested them. In the meanwhile, dozens of Palestinian youngsters gathered and threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the Israeli soldiers, who immediately opened fire at them. As a result, 3 civilians were wounded, two of them were wounded in the lower limps while Baraa’ Isma’il Hamamdah (18) sustained 4 live bullet wounds to the chest, abdomen and neck. An ambulance of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) immediately transferred the wounded civilians to al-Hussein Hospital in Beit Jala. After a short time, Baraa’ was announced dead succumbing to his wounds.

According to PCHR’s investigation about the second crime, at approximately 05:00 on Sunday, 16 July 2017, Israeli forces accompanied with more than 30 military jeeps and a group of Israeli undercover agents “Musta’ribin” dressed like Palestinian civilians and supported by a drone moved into Kafer ‘Ein village, northwest of Ramallah. The soldiers surrounded 3 poultry farms belonging to Mohammed Lutfi Hasan al-Terawi, Ashraf al-Remawi and an expatriate civilian, who owns an uninhabited house comprised of 2 rooms. All of these farms are located in ‘Ein al-Jadidah area in the eastern outskirts of the abovementioned village. When the Israeli forces moved into, sound of heavy shooting was heard in the area. At approximately 06:00, information was leaked to the residents that there is a dead body in the farms. After the Israeli forces withdrew at approximately 06:30, a number of the residents rushed to the abovementioned area and saw a pool of blood in the uninhabited house and blood signs on the main street, but they did not find any corpse. They later knew that the Israeli forces killed ‘Ammar Ahmed Hasan Lutfi al-Terawi (34) and arrested his cousin Lutfi Mohammed Hasan al-Terawi (28), who was in his father’s farm. They kept the dead body under custody.

Following this crime, the Israeli forces declared that “Yamam” Unit, which is one of “Musta’ribin” units, and another Israeli unit from the “Shabak”, shot al-Terawi dead. They also claimed that al-Terawi pointed his weapon at the soldiers when they went to arrest him, so they opened fire at him. However, PCHR was not able to reach a local eyewitness to confirm or refute the Israeli claims, particularly because the Israeli forces arrested the only eyewitness on this crime. PCHR will continue to investigate in the circumstances of this crime.

It should be mentioned that the “Yamam” Unit is an Israeli counter-terrorism unit, one of four special units of the Israeli Border Police, and is specialized, among other tasks, in carrying out attacks against Members of Palestinian armed groups.  According to PCHR’s documentation of many attacks carried out by “Mustaʿribin” Unit against activists during al-Aqsa Intifada, members of this Unit used to kill Palestinians, claiming they are wanted, instead of arresting them.

While PCHR strongly condemns these two crimes, which further prove the Israeli forces continue to commit crimes against Palestinian civilians in disregard for their lives. Thus, PCHR:

PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate and effective action to stop the Israeli crimes and 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.