Hebrew news site Walla said in a report published today that an IOF officer may have committed a crime in his fatal shooting of 17-year-old Palestinian Mohammed al-Kasaba.
Al-Kasaba died yesterday after being hit by two bullets fired by an Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) soldier as he attempted to climb the separation wall near Qalandia and attend Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
The report comes after Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) leadership announced their decision to carry out an internal investigation concerning the incident.
According to Walla, despite the decision to open an investigation into the shooting, the officer involved enjoys the support of the IOF on a political level. This was confirmed by a senior official in the region who visited the site of al-Kasaba’s shooting and expressed his support for the Israeli officer involved.
Walla reported that the first investigation carried out by Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem indicated in its findings that al-Kasaba was injured by three bullets, two in his shoulder and one in his back, when an IOF soldier opened fire on him at close proximity after he threw stones at a military jeep.
The Israeli report noted that circumstances surrounding the killing of al-Kasaba once again open the door for a discussion concerning the issue of shooting Palestinian protesters and activists, especially when the lives of Israeli officers are not under threat. It also mentions that the rules of engagement in such a situation are to shoot in the air, and if the situation does not calm down, to shoot at lower parts of the body. In case of a viable threat to the lives of soldiers, it is permitted to shoot at the upper part of the body.
In this context, the Israeli officer in question bypassed the laws and orders established by the army.
The B’Tselem report pointed out that the actions of the Israeli officer are a violation of Israeli laws as he fired three bullets and all of them in the upper body, despite the fact that al-Kasaba did not pose a threat to the life of the officer.
Walla’s report confirmed that the investigation opened by the military police will discuss whether or not the officer in question did override his orders to shoot. At the same time, he has the support and protection of the political and military levels. This support came in the form of a letter addressed to a senior commander, in which he said that the Central Command supports the action taken by the commander of the Benyamin region.
Political support for the officer’s actions came from the head of the IOF forces in Qalandia region, and Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Israeli Minister of the Army both praised the regional army leadership in their protection of and support for the officer concerned. They said that the officer faced terrorists, that soldiers must be able to protect themselves from stone throwing in the West Bank and, therefore, must know that they have the support of the political leaders.