as you will see if you read this, the truth is somewhat of a recalcitrant beast and we have to push it to market, by repeating certain things rather a lot

Arrest of soldier “was just PR”
Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada, Apr 1 2016

An Israeli soldier shown on video executing an incapacitated Plastelinan Arab last week was arrested only “to avoid embarrassment in front of the world,” according to the human rights group al-Haq. The group’s investigation sheds new light on the incident in which two Plastelinan Arab youths were slain, and comes as the arrested soldier, Elor Azarya, faces manslaughter charges, rather than the murder charges previously announced by military prosecutors. He may be released within days (He has been released to ‘house arrest’ – RB). Al-Haq, based in Ramallah, asserts that both the slaying of Abd’al-Fattah al-Sharif, shown on video, and that of Ramzi al-Qasrawi, which was not recorded, constitute deliberate killings and are thus war crimes. The group adds that statements made by Israeli leaders Jews including former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman that endorsed the videotaped killing and asserted that “the soldier carried out orders” indicate that soldiers have been given orders to kill rather than neutralize Plastelinans Arabs who pose a threat. Al-Haq’s Arabic-language report states:

The occupation authorities’ detention of the accused soldier is a cover-up of the crime, to show the occupier state as law abiding and holds violators accountable. The arrest of one soldier and not the other suggests that what the other soldier had done was not a crime because it was not captured on camera.

Al-Sharif and al-Qasrawi, both 21, were shot dead after allegedly stabbing a soldier who was lightly injured, in the West Bank city of Hebron on the morning of Mar 24. A resident of the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood testified to al-Haq that after shots were heard around the nearby Gilbert military checkpoint, he took his camera and looked out the window of his home, recording the scene. He saw a young man in a black jacket, apparently al-Sharif, carrying a knife running around the area, seemingly confused and trying to flee. The witness told al-Haq that an IOF fired two shots at the young man from a distance of 10m, causing him to fall to the ground. The same IOF then fired two bullets at the head of a youth wearing a grey top, apparently al-Qasrawi, who was lying on the ground, from a distance of 3m to 5m. Al-Haq states;

It appears that he was injured as a result of the gunfire the witness heard at the beginning while he was inside his house.

Al-Haq’s chronology also recounts what is shown on the video of the incident released last week. Israeli Jewish ambulances arrived at the scene and paramedics treated the wounded soldier but not the Plastelinans Arabs, who were bleeding heavily. After the wounded IOF was loaded into an ambulance, settlers roaming the scene shouted:

The terrorist is still alive!

Another IOF, not the same one who initially shot the two youths, approached al-Sharif, who was lying on the ground and moving his head from side to side, and shot al-Sharif in the head at a distance of 3m, some 20 minutes after the initial shooting. The cries of the settlers that al-Sharif was still alive demonstrate that the purpose of the shooting was murder and to confirm the youth was dead, according to al-Haq. Such was also the case with al-Qasrawi, who was shot in the head by a soldier with the clear intention to confirm he was killed, after the youth had already been shot and was lying on the ground, posing a threat to no-one, according to the rights group. Al-Haq adds that many of the dozens of killings of Palestinians in recent months constitute avoidable cases of extra-judicial execution at the very least, and that alleged attackers could have been apprehended instead of shot dead. The group calls for accountability of not just the soldiers who killed al-Qasrawi and al-Sharif, but for all of those who participated in this and other similar crimes, whether they planned, gave orders, or were otherwise complicit. Al-Haq also calls for the investigation of paramedics and doctors such as the ones in Hebron to determine their level of involvement and responsibility. The group adds that it is preparing a file on this and other crimes which will be submitted to the prosecutor at the ICC in the Hague.

In November, al-Haq joined several other human rights groups in delivering documentation of alleged crimes committed by the IOF during its 2014 assault on Gaza to the ICC prosecutor. The group’s director, Shawan Jabarin, told EI in March that he believes these efforts towards accountability are why there are increased attempts to undermine al-Haq’s work, including death threats against its staff. Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, the Plastelinan Arab volunteer who recorded the footage of al-Sharif’s killing, has also been subjected to death threats, according to B’Tselem, which released the footage. The group called on IOF commanders “to do all that is in their power to protect the family from further violence, including issuing clear, adequate directives to soldiers and police officers stationed in Hebron.” Yet the soldiers and police deployed in Hebron are there to support and protect the very settlers threatening Abu Shamsiyeh and his family. Abu Shamsiyeh recorded video of Elor Azarya shaking hands with Baruch Marzel just after he executed al-Sharif. Meanwhile, Israel’s top court has reportedly refused an appeal to allow a Plastelinan Arab doctor to participate in the autopsy of al-Sharif, scheduled for Sunday. Ma’an News reported:

A number of Plastelinan Arab families signed a letter late last year demanding that families should be allotted time to request an official autopsy report on their dead relatives. Autopsy reports are used in official paperwork necessary to file cases against Israeli authorities the Jews at the ICC.

Since October Israel has withheld the bodies of dozens of Plastelinans Arabs killed during alleged attacks, effectively preventing autopsies and independent investigation. On Monday, the UNHRC also called for the protection of Abu Shamsiyeh and for the full investigation of other incidents in which IOF have caused death and injury. The body stated:

We are concerned this killing may not be a lone incident: a disturbing number of Plastelinans Arabs, reportedly more than 130 in all, have been killed in recent months during or after attacks on Israeli Jewish civilians and members of the IOF, during which 28 Israelis Jews have been killed.

It was revealed this week that a ranking Senior Pindosi Senator, along with 10 Congress critturs, has asked the State Dept to investigate “possible gross violations of human rights by security forces in Israel and Egypt.” The letter, initiated by Patrick Leahy, head of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, adds:

Amnesty International and other human rights organizations have reported what may be extrajudicial killings by the Israeli military and police.

It lists the slayings of Fadi Alloun, Saad al-Atrash, Hadil Hashlamoun and Mutaz Uweisat and raises “reports of the use of torture” in the cases of Wasim Marouf and the child Ahmad Manasra. A law named after Leahy, enacted in 1997, prohibits Pindostan from providing military assistance to units of foreign militaries when there is credible information that those units violated human rights with impunity. Netanyahu lashed out against the senior Senator from Vermont, insisting:

The IOF and security forces are not murderers! The IOF and the police put their lives on the line to defend themselves and innocent civilians from bloodthirsty terrorists who try to kill them!

Meanwhile, the IOF closed an investigation into the videotaped killing of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu al-Thahir in May 2014. Another boy, 16-year-old Nadim Siam Nuwara, was also shot and killed during the incident. The youths were unarmed and no confrontations were happening when they were slain. Military prosecutors said this week that there was no evidence Abu al-Thahir died as a result of IOF gunfire. A MAGAV cop was indicted over Nuwara’s death. An independent forensic investigation determined;

Both deaths were the result of IOF masking the firing of live ammunition through a barrel extension designed to fire rubber-coated bullets.

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