murder is just zionazi routine

IOF absolves itself of killing disabled protester
Maureen Clare Murphy, Electronic Intifada, May 17 2019

Palestinians with disabilities protest the killing of Ibrahim Abu Thurayya
in front of UNESCO headquarters in Gaza City in Dec 2017.
Photo: Ashraf Amra/ APA

The IOF has closed its internal probe into the killing of Ibrahim Abu Thurayya during protests in the Gaza Strip in Dec 2017. The IOF’s investigation of itself concluded that there was no evidence that Abu Thurayya was killed by direct Israeli fire. Abu Thurayya was slain during protests against Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Eight Palestinians, including Abu Thurayya, were killed during protests against Trump’s Jerusalem declaration that month. Their deaths anticipated Israel’s brutal crackdown on unarmed demonstrations launched under the banner of the Great March of Return along Gaza’s eastern boundary a few months later. More than 200 Palestinians have been killed during those demonstrations, and around 8,400 wounded by live fire. At least one of those killed during the Great March of Return, 29-year-old Fadi Abu Salmi, was a double amputee, like Abu Thurayya. Both men had lost their legs during IOF airstrikes years earlier. Abu Salmi was shot in the chest while sitting in his wheelchair under a tree with friends during protests on May 14 2018. A UN commission of inquiry found:

He did not pose an imminent threat of life or injury to the soldiers at the time he was killed.

Both Abu Salmi and Abu Thurayya were known to the IOF snipers on the other side of the boundary fence due to their distinctive injuries and regular participation in protests. B’Tselem stated:

He would get out of his wheelchair, crawl toward the fence, then crawl away and get back into his wheelchair. He became a familiar figure to the soldiers.

Two days before Abu Thurayya was shot in the head, according to witness testimony given to B’Tselem, an Arabic-speaking soldier using a bullhorn said, “Go away, Ibrahim.” The same witness told B’Tselem that Abu Thurayya would lift up his shirt “to show the soldiers that he wasn’t armed and that he posed no threat to anyone.” Abu Thurayya was sitting in his wheelchair and holding a Palestinian flag “when he was shot in the forehead in what appears to have been a deliberate act of killing,” according to the human rights group Al-Haq, which adds:

Under international humanitarian and human rights law, he was entitled to special protection not only as a civilian under the control of the occupying power, but also as a person with disability who moreover lost his legs as a consequence of a prior assault by Israel on the Gaza Strip. The perspective of persons with disabilities must be taken into account in the assessment of whether certain conduct amounts to prohibited inhuman acts. As such, the killing of Ibrahim Abu Thurayya may not only amount to an arbitrary deprivation of life but also an act of torture or ill-treatment.

The UNHRC chief at the time condemned Israel’s killing of Abu Thurayya, calling it “incomprehensible” and a “truly shocking and wanton act,” but stopped short of calling for any real accountability. The independent UN commission of inquiry formed after Israel killed 60 Palestinians during a single day of protests in May 2018 has found that the IOF may have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity by using lethal military force against unarmed protesters in Gaza. Sara Hossain, one of the other three investigators appointed by the UNHRC, said:

The IOF have intentionally shot children, they’ve intentionally shot people with disabilities, they’ve intentionally shot journalists, knowing them to be children, people with disabilities and journalists.

Eight persons with a disability have been killed during the Great March of Return protests, according to Al Mezan, a human rights group in the Gaza Strip. B’Tselem characterizes the IOF’s internal investigations as a “whitewash” mechanism. So long as it remains this way, the rights group says, “with no one being held account for these actions, the unlawful killing will continue.” The IOF announced it had closed its investigation into Abu Thurayya’s death on May 15, the annual Palestinian commemoration of the Nakba, and one year and a day after Israeli snipers massacred 60 Palestinians protesting in Gaza while officials celebrated the inauguration of the Pindo embassy in Jerusalem. In March this year, the UNHRC adopted the commission of inquiry’s findings that Israel’s use of lethal force against protesters warrants criminal investigation and prosecution. The resolution adds:

We note the lack of meaningful Israeli investigations into human rights abuses by its forces, as well as the numerous legal, procedural and practical obstacles in the Israeli civil and criminal legal system contributing to the denial of access to justice for Palestinian victims and of their right to an effective judicial remedy.

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