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Israeli Forces Use Excessive Force Killing 2 Palestinian Civilians at Military Checkpoint in the West Bank



In an
excessive use of force, on Thursday evening, 07 November 2013, Israeli forces
killed 2 Palestinian civilians at Za’tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, and the
Container checkpoint, northeast of Bethlehem, in the West Bank.  


to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR),
at approximately 18:00 on Thursday, 07 November 2013, Basheer Sami Salem
Habnain, 29, from Marka village south of Jenin, was traveling in a taxi from
Ramallah to Nablus.  When he became 20
meters far from Za’tara intersection, south of Nablus, he stepped down from the
taxi and crossed the main road towards the other side.  He was carrying a box of fireworks, from
which flares were unleashed.  Soon, an
Israeli soldier descended from a military observation tower and fired directly
at Habnain, killing him with 7 bullets to the legs and thighs and an 8th
one which entered the back and exited the chest.  Israeli forces kept the victim’s body until
03:00 on Friday, 08 November 2013, when they handed the body to the Palestinian
liaison department.  The victim was a
lecturer at the fashion department in Palestine Technical University (Kadoorie)
in Tulkarm.


forces claimed that "Habnain was carrying a flare gun, from which he fired
at soldiers, so the soldiers responded by firing at him, and he was instantly
killed."  A video clip published on
Youtube shows an Israeli soldiers descending from an Israeli military
observation tower to the southeast of Za’tara checkpoint, and then firing at
the area to the southwest of the checkpoint. 
Another 2 soldiers are seen in the video clip coming from the
checkpoint.  Even according to the
Israeli narrative, Israeli forces could have used less lethal means against the
victims, such as arresting him.


In a
similar crime, at approximately 21:30, Isma’il Fu’ad Refa’ei al-Atrash, 25, and
his brother Anas, 23, arrived at the Container checkpoint, northeast of
Bethlehem, traveling from Jericho to their home in Hebron.  They were traveling in a civilian car driven
by Isma’il.  When they arrived the
checkpoint, Isma’il slowed down to cross road bumps.  Anas opened the door, and once he stepped
down, Israeli soldiers shot him dead with 2 bullets to the chest.  Israeli soldiers took Anas’ body and put it
in a plastic sac near the checkpoint. 
Residents of the area and a number of members of the victim’s family
arrived at the checkpoint and skirmishes erupted between them and Israeli
soldiers.  Later, the family received
Anas’ body.  Israeli forces claimed that
"the young man attempted to stab a soldier, so the latter fired at him
directly, killing him."  PCHR’s
field worker in Hebron reported that he was not able to obtain a statement from
the victim’s brother who was accompanying him during the attack, because the
brother is suffering from a shock.  PCHR
will continue to investigate this crime.


PCHR is deeply concerned over these crimes, which further
prove the use of excessive force by Israeli forces against the Palestinian
civilians in disregard for the civilians’ lives. Therefore, PCHR calls upon the
international community to take immediate and effective actions to put an end
to such crimes and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the
Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to fulfill their obligations under Article 1;
i.e., to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances,
and their obligation 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.