A video report posted online Monday by the Palestinian branch of Defense for Children International.
Last Updated, Tuesday, 3:47 p.m. | Security-camera footage obtained by the rights group Defense for Children International appears to show the fatal shooting of two young Palestinians on Thursday during a demonstration in Beitunia, a West Bank town outside Ramallah.
The rights group published the footage on Monday in a video report that also includes the testimony of a witness, Fakher Zayed. Mr. Zayed owns a building near the Israeli occupation authority’s Ofer Prison, where more than 100 Palestinians have been on a hunger strike for weeks, and it was his security camera that recorded the incident. The demonstration was in commemoration of what Palestinians call the “catastrophe,” or “nakba,” of Israel’s creation in 1948, during which hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes into exile.
At least one of the young men killed in the incident, Nadeem Siam Nawara, was a 17-year-old student. Palestinian health officials initially told The Times that the other victim, Muhammad Odeh Abu al Daher, was 20, and later revised that to 16, while the Palestinian Center for Human Rights subsequently reported that he too was 17.
The Israel Defense Forces described the demonstration and clashes in Beitunia on Thursday as “a violent and illegal disturbance,” in a statement provided to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Tuesday. The military statement claimed that the rights group’s video report, which included only excerpts from the security-camera footage, “was edited in a biased way and does not reflect the violence in the disturbance.”
As my colleague Jodi Rudoren reports:
Rifat Kassis, executive director of Defense for Children International, said that “neither child presented a direct and immediate threat to life at the time of their shooting” and called on Israel to “conduct serious, impartial, and thorough investigations to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes.”
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, said Tuesday that investigations by the military and the police were continuing, and that “the preliminary inquiry up until this moment still does not indicate any use of live fire by the forces.” Colonel Lerner said that the “edited few minutes” of video did not capture the “atmosphere of violence” during the demonstration, and he noted that it does not show who fired the shots or whether they were rubber bullets or live ammunition.
“So what caused the deaths,” he said, “is a question mark that needs to be answered.”
More footage from the security camera, and a second one mounted on the same building, showing the shooting of first Nadeem Nawara and then Muhammad Odeh, was posted online on Tuesday by the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, which called for “an investigation into the military’s highly incorrect version of the…