Palestinian Civilian Killed by Israeli Occupation Forces in Southern Bethlehem
Date: 02 March 2022
Time: 09:00 GMT
Yesterday evening, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) killed a Palestinian civilian after opened fire at his head without any justification near the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, south of Bethlehem. He is the 3rd Palestinian killed within less than 24 hours, after IOF killed 2 Palestinians, including one civilian, in Jenin.
This incident reflects IOF’s shooting policy against Palestinians to kill them without posing any threat or danger to soldiers’ lives. Also, it comes in the context of the escalation of killings conducted by IOF and their lenient shooting standards against the Palestinian civilians.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 17:00 on Tuesday, 01 March 2022, IOF chased two Palestinians who approached the western entrance to Beit Fajjar village, near ” Migdal Oz” settlement, south of Bethlehem. The two Palestinians were shocked when they saw the Israeli force, so they tried to flee. During which, one of them fell to the ground and IOF opened fire at him, wounding him with a live bullet in his head and killing him immediately, while the other Palestinian managed to flee.
The Palestinian killed was ‘Ammar Shafiq Abu ‘Afifa (19), from Al-Arroub refugee camp. IOF kept the body under custody and delivered it to the al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron after midnight.
IOF claimed that Abu ‘Afifia threw stones at an Israeli force was in the area. Later, IOF’s Spokesperson said that IOF surveillance cameras showed two persons approaching a lookout point near ” Migdal Oz ” settlement, between Hebron and Bethlehem. Accordingly, a military force rushed to the scene and saw the two suspected persons escaping, so they chased them and opened fire at them, killing one of them. The incident is still under investigation, according to IOF’s statement.
According to field investigations, there were no clashes or stone-throwing between the Palestinians and IOF in the area.
An eyewitness published a footage showed IOF chasing Palestinians at the entrance to Beit Fajjar village, and opening fire at one of them.
Moreover, Haaretz Newspaper stated that ‘Ammar Abu ‘Afifia along with another Palestinian were near a military watchtower between Beit Fajjar village and ” Migdal Oz ” settlement, where a number of Israeli settlers were sitting. The two Palestinians fled when Israeli soldiers approached to determine their identity. The soldiers ordered them to stop, fired a warning shot in the sky and then directly opened fire at them, wounding Abu ‘Afifa, who was pronounced dead later. Haaretz emphasized that ” No stones or any other evidence were found at the scene suggesting that the two Palestinians were intending to inflect harm on the Israelis,” refuting the IOF initial claims that “Abu Afifa was throwing stones at the soldiers.
So far in 2022, IOF have killed 11 Palestinian civilians, including two children, and wounded tens of others, including women and children. All of them were residents of the West Bank.
PCHR reiterates its call upon the international community to take immediate action to end Israeli occupation’s crimes, and its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfil their obligations as per Common Article 1 of the Convention, “undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances.” PCHR also calls upon the High Contracting Parties to uphold their commitment to Article 146 of the same Conventions, i.e., to hold accountable persons accused of committing grave breaches of the Convention, and to ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the occupied territory.