Two Palestinians were executed on Hebron street in March, not just one — B’Tselem

Israel/Palestine
on 18 Comments

Here’s an explosive story that came out yesterday afternoon: B’Tselem, the human rights organization that rocked Israeli politics and world opinion with the highly disturbing video of an Israeli medic executing a Palestinian lying on the ground on March 24 in Hebron, has released eyewitness accounts saying that the second Palestinian man who died in that incident was also executed while incapacitated.

The famous victim in the case was ‘Abd al-Fatah a-Sharif, 21. Accused of attacking an Israeli soldier in the Tel Rumeida section of occupied Hebron, he had been shot in the stomach and lay in the street when he was then shot in the head by an Israeli medic, Elor Azaria, who is now on trial for the killing.

It has always been known that a second alleged assailant was also killed at the same intersection: Ramzi al-Qasrawi, 21. Now B’Tselem says he was executed too.

The new B’Tselem report charges based on eyewitness accounts, supported by two videos it also released, that al-Qasrawi had also been wounded and was lying incapacitated on the street when he was shot in the head.

Here’s the crux of that B’Tselem report (in full below):

The testimonies of two of residents, Nur Abu ‘Eishah and Amani Abu ‘Eishah, raise concerns that al-Qasrawi was also executed with a shot to the head, as he lay injured on the ground after having been hit by gunfire elsewhere in his body.

The two stated that, on the day of the incident, they began following events after they heard gunshots from the street. They said that after both a-Sharif and al-Qasrawi were lying injured on the road, clearly posing no danger to anyone, and even before additional troops and the paramedics arrived on the scene, a soldier (or officer) went up to al-Qasrawi and shot him twice in the neck or head from several meters away. Later on in this incident, both saw Azaria shooting a-Sharif in the head, an action that was captured on ‘Imad Abu Shamsiyeh’s camera.

The two eyewitnesses, both B’Tselem volunteers, documented parts of the incident with their cameras, but not the moment al-Qasrawi was shot. They both circulated the footage on social media immediately after the incident, and Nur Abu ‘Eishah was even interviewed shortly thereafter in the Palestinian press. Given how long it’s been since the incident and the gravity of the allegations, B’Tselem made clear to Nur Abu ‘Eishah and Amani Abu ‘Eishah that the military probably had footage of the entire incident on it security cameras located in the area, and that this footage could corroborate or disprove their accounts. Both witnesses repeated their testimony and said they were prepared to testify before any official body if summoned.

The new report has been picked up by Newsweek and the Intercept and several Israeli outlets, but not by the New York Time or NPR or the Washington Post.

B’Tselem is calling on the military to release surveillance videotape it likely has of incident. The two videos, below, are not conclusive support for the two witnesses’ claims. But they confirm the fact that al-Qasrawi was already dead from an apparent head wound while a-Sharif was still alive. Here is the first piece of footage. Warning, disturbing content:

 

Here is a second piece. Warning, highly disturbing images:

Meantime, lawyers for the medic Azaria are using the information to allege that the medic sergeant has been singled out for prosecution.

The Jerusalem Post said its own calls to the witnesses confirmed the B’Tselem account, and said that the Israeli army disputes the account:

The IDF responded that B’tselem’s claims “do not match the findings of our operational investigation, and contradict the information the IDF has on the incident.”
The IDF stated that the shots fired at al-Kasrawi were necessary in order to “remove the threat while he was attacking the soldiers with a knife.”

At press time, it was unclear to whether the IDF would carry out a supplemental investigation into the new allegations, or whether it would rest its conclusions on the already completed probe.

Seeking to confirm the new allegations, The Jerusalem Post spoke to the witnesses on Monday. Nur Abu Aysha said, “I was 10 meters away from the scene. I saw Kasrawi laying on the ground bleeding, and suddenly an IDF officer came at the place and shot him in the head. Kasrawi was shot after the first attempt to neutralize Sharif.”

Here is the B’Tselem report.

Testimonies: Prior to incident for which Elor Azaria is facing charges, Ramzi al-Qasrawi was also executed

On 24 March 2016, ‘Abd al-Fatah a-Sharif and Ramzi al-Qasrawi were killed by soldiers’ gunfire in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood in Hebron. They were shot after they stabbed a soldier who, according to media reports, sustained light injuries. The incident was widely covered by the media thanks to video footage shot by B’Tselem volunteer ‘Imad Abu Shamsiyeh, in which a soldier can be seen executing the injured a-Sharif, shooting him in the head. The shooter, Elor Azaria, is currently on trial for manslaughter for his actions.

The footage of the incident that B’Tselem released in March began at a point in time in which the second assailant, Ramzi al-Qasrawi was already dead. The military has recently lifted the strict travel restrictions imposed on Tel Rumeida, so for the first time since the incident, B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bri was able to get into the neighborhood and collect testimonies from its residents. The testimonies of two of residents, Nur Abu ‘Eishah and Amani Abu ‘Eishah, raise concerns that al-Qasrawi was also executed with a shot to the head, as he lay injured on the ground after having been hit by gunfire elsewhere in his body.

The two stated that, on the day of the incident, they began following events after they heard gunshots from the street. They said that after both a-Sharif and al-Qasrawi were lying injured on the road, clearly posing no danger to anyone, and even before additional troops and the paramedics arrived on the scene, a soldier (or officer) went up to al-Qasrawi and shot him twice in the neck or head from several meters away. Later on in this incident, both saw Azaria shooting a-Sharif in the head, an action that was captured on ‘Imad Abu Shamsiyeh’s camera.

The two eyewitnesses, both B’Tselem volunteers, documented parts of the incident with their cameras, but not the moment al-Qasrawi was shot. They both circulated the footage on social media immediately after the incident, and Nur Abu ‘Eishah was even interviewed shortly thereafter in the Palestinian press. Given how long it’s been since the incident and the gravity of the allegations, B’Tselem made clear to Nur Abu ‘Eishah and Amani Abu ‘Eishah that the military probably had footage of the entire incident on it security cameras located in the area, and that this footage could corroborate or disprove their accounts. Both witnesses repeated their testimony and said they were prepared to testify before any official body if summoned.

Since the most recent wave of violence began in October 2015, a good number of instances were caught on video showing executions of Palestinians who stabbed or were suspected of stabbing Israeli security personnel or civilians. (For more on this subject see B’Tselem’s report of December 2015). In other cases, executions were alleged, but since there was no video footage, B’Tselem was unable to confirm the allegations. Many of these cases were captured on the military’s security cameras which are permanently installed in various locations throughout the West Bank, such as checkpoints or downtown Hebron. B’Tselem has no access to this footage, but it is available to the military, which for the most part takes pains not to make it public.

This material is also available to the military’s investigating authorities, which as a rule choose to ignore it. There have been many reports since October of a policy permitting shoot-to-kill in incidents in which Palestinians harmed, or attempted to harm, Israeli security personnel or civilians, even when there is no clear and immediate mortal danger or if the danger can be overcome without resorting to a lethal outcome. Nevertheless, to date, these cases are hardly ever investigated, and no civilian or member of the security forces has faced charged for implementing his policy. The case of Sgt. Azaria, whose trial is still underway, is the one exception. But what is far more grave is that this open-fire policy has the full backing of senior civil and military officials. Israeli law enforcement authorities, both military and civilian, prefer not to deal with these cases, instead, shutting their eyes to this reality, thereby granting it legitimacy and enabling it to carry on.

 

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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18 Responses

  1. Mooser
    June 7, 2016, 5:51 pm

    “B’Tselem is calling on the military to reduce surveillance videotape it likely has of incident.”

    More likely ‘produce’? Instead of “reduce”.

    • gamal
      June 7, 2016, 11:56 pm

      ” to reduce surveillance videotape”

      “Well it is a very free language. I mean you can create new words in Arabic. So, you can say that it is an open language, a language that a poet can always renew. If you know Arabic well with a classical formation, in a way you will be more free because you will see more things. You can work within the language to create a new word and it will be understood. It will not be considered strange.”

      for example…

      Soon
      all the rooms will be closed,
      and beginning with the basement,
      we will leave them
      one
      by one
      until we reach the guns
      on the roof.
      We will leave them too . . . like the rooms
      and go on
      to search in our blood
      or in our maps
      for new rooms.

      • Mooser
        June 9, 2016, 12:00 am

        “Gamal” is the poem (“Soon, all the rooms will be closed”) complete? It’s fine as it stands, searing, but is there more?

      • gamal
        June 9, 2016, 8:47 am

        dear Mooser its complete called Departure ’82, when those who defended her and fought for her were leaving Lebanon, flying a flag woven from Arab duplicity cowardice and complicity, but those days are over that is what these young people represent those two dead boys….an end to powerlessness.

        Saadi’s best poem for Americans is the master work America America, I wrote an answer to it wherein I demonstrated that we ghetto scum are far worse than any Arabs or even the oppressors, ” I am the snake that your cult handles” being the only line I now recall anyway the collection “without an Alphabet without a Face” is required reading, he is so good it makes one cringe to pretend to do the same thing

      • Mooser
        June 9, 2016, 4:00 pm

        ” its complete called Departure ’82″

        Thanks. It is great. “Departure 82′” by Saadi Youssef.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 8, 2016, 10:42 am

      thanks mooser, i had switched it to “release” before seeing your comment, but you’re probably right. just out of curiosity i checked b’tselems wording but couldn’t find any mention of it in their report. however, robert mackey reporting for the intercept wrote Sarit Michaeli, a B’Tselem spokesperson “called for the Israeli authorities to resolve the matter by simply publishing all of the security camera footage it has of the incident.”

      so i stuck w/release.

      • Mooser
        June 8, 2016, 12:19 pm

        “so i stuck w/release.”

        Works for me. Thanks. And thanks, “Gamal”, for the lines of verse.

      • gamal
        June 8, 2016, 2:06 pm

        “the lines of verse”

        both quotes are Saadi Youseff, he is like an ordinary person but is full of blessings even though he is just an Iraqi he was blessed with the hook nose and buck teeth of the uber-semite,

        also in Arabic he wrote the most wonderful elegy to male ineptitude, without laughing once…

        Woman

        How will I drag my feet to her now?
        In which land will I see her
        and on which street of what city
        should I ask about her?
        And if I find her house
        (let’s suppose I do)
        will I ring the bell?
        How should I answer back?
        And how will I stare at her face
        as I touch the light wine
        seeping between her fingers.
        How should I say hello…
        and how will I take the pain of all these years?
        Once
        twenty years ago
        in an air-conditioned train
        I kissed her all night through…

      • Annie Robbins
        June 8, 2016, 3:28 pm

        swoon, you are slaying me gamal

      • Mooser
        June 8, 2016, 6:56 pm

        “in an air-conditioned train”

        And the mood’s divine!
        Then you get off at Saratoga, for the fourteenth time!
        A person, could develop a cold.

  2. JLewisDickerson
    June 8, 2016, 4:35 am

    RE: “Two Palestinians were executed on Hebron street in March, not just one— B’Tselem”

    MY COMMENT: This news brings to mind an infamous IDF t-shirt.

    • Cazador
      June 8, 2016, 8:53 am

      I sent that image to a lot of netanyau-paid hasbara representatives trying to convince us that IDF was the most morale army in the world…, along with the one showing only a little boy instead of a pregnant woman. Of course the 2 for 1 has a better knock-for-good effect and consequence…

      With the new yearly 4 billion USD gift to Israel, US politicians and judges will be gladly rewarded for their «justified» collaboration with morale zionist Israel. Money is power in the Land of Capitalism, and who better knows that than anyone else, the US zionists.

  3. Annie Robbins
    June 8, 2016, 10:50 am

    maybe our state department could look into this. maybe one of the reporters at the daily press briefings could ask about it. this reminds me of another murder at the entrance if a village i wrote about, where witnesses said there was no attack prior to execution.

    • xanadou
      June 8, 2016, 4:24 pm

      Annie, I doubt there is anyone in position of consequence in this country who will risk his/her cushy job to meet quaint expectations of just, moral and ethical considerations.

      The musical chairs society, aka the israeli govt, has long ago gone off the reservation and likely spend ther time contemplating their collection of nukes. It’s time to consider ways to bring the psychopaths into the ICC, before the former act on their unconscionable wants. Can someone like B’Tselem, the NGOs and the legion of journalists bring such a suit? One wonders if perhaps AIPAC, the Center for Constitutional Rights, et brilliant jurist al, could come together and rein in the psychopaths and make them “eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit if their schemes” (Proverbs 1:31) It’s been done before. At Nuremberg.

      What do you think?

      • Annie Robbins
        June 9, 2016, 6:27 pm

        Annie, I doubt there is anyone in position of consequence in this country who will risk his/her cushy job to meet quaint expectations of just, moral and ethical considerations.

        i don’t know what part of my comment you’re referencing, but for sure journalists like matt lee and “said” (don’t know his last name) w/access to the press briefings query st dept officials on a regular basis. and i think many americans have chosen a path of just, moral and ethical considerations over and above cushy jobs. although people like michael ratner are not on every street corner there are a lot of ethical people here (in the US) who fight for the rights of others on a regular basis — often at personal risk i might add.

  4. xanadou
    June 8, 2016, 3:25 pm

    That the farce called israeli govt still refers to their conscripts as idf, makes sense in the context of a need to create an illusion that justifies their genocidal policies. But looking at the endless stream of gruesome street executions remindes one of the 70+ y/o images of the SS in a similar capacity.

    So, what’s next? Supplying their victims with shovels, ordering them to dig a ditch, line them at the edge and put a bullet in their heads? Too drastic an assumption? Why? The concentration camps are already in place, so is the starvation of the inmates, the kangaroo courts, and the massive whitewashing job that is failing at an exponential rate to not only retain the degree of ignorance among the global populace, but is giving the neonazi menace the tools to confidently aim at the highest office in their lands.

    Israel as the machine that is engineering the revival of the genocidal zombies…The mind is seriously boggled.

    Who can put the israeli govt into the ICC docks, before a tragedy of unconscionable proportions takes us beyond the point of no return?

  5. Rashers2
    June 9, 2016, 1:33 am

    xanadou, some years ago, the mass sociopathy afflicting a majority of Jews in Israel passed the “point of no return”. That the average Joe in Hicksville, Tenn. or Tunbridge Wells who’s a consumer of MSM is unaware of this is attributable largely to the MSM’s biased and tendentious coverage of I/P. Those who, for whatever motive, look behind CNBC, the Post, etc. and try to work out what’s really goes and has been going on in I/P cannot evade the conclusion that there is no longer (if ever there was) a way rationally to “talk back” or reel-in the Zionists’ attitudes and the egregious behaviour which stems from them.

    When a people and its leadership live Through the Looking Glass or in an Erehwon where black is white and white, black; where the moral compasses are either broken or swung to the South Pole; normal means of diplomatic persuasion or even coercion can’t work. The parallels between Nazi-dom and modern Israel become clearer and starker, less fanciful or stretched with each successive act of barbarism by the IOF, each demolition, expulsion or land theft, each capricious, spiteful misuse of power and each piece of new „Gleichschaltung“ legislation introduced by such as Naftali Bennett and Miri Regev. Israel’s is a very sick society.

    Tangentially, what concerns me about BDS is its potential for opposite and unintended consequences. I support BDS and it’s quite difficult to conjure up a plausible case for not doing so; but I worry that it may be predicated in part on a false premise, namely that, when it starts becoming effective to the point that it impacts the standards of living of average, Jewish Israelis, pressure on the leadership to change its policies in ways which would ameliorate the negative effects of BDS will come from below, i. e. from the Israeli electorate. This premise is based on past experience of Apartheid South Africa, where ostracism and economic sanctions helped bring about the conditions for a de Klerk to emerge and begin a process of transition and reconciliation. In South Africa, however, the world was dealing with rational actors who could at least understand (even if reluctantly) the case that the international community was making against Apartheid.

    My fear about BDS and Israel is that, when BDS really starts to bite, the Israeli public’s reaction may not be that for which some hope but that it may rather feed the victim-oppressor psychosis and that, far from causing pressure to be brought to bear from below on an incumbent government to modify its extreme policies so as to invite less international opprobrium, it may be viewed as another example of, “They all hate us because we’re Jewish.” If the latter reaction materialised, the result could be a resolve to accelerate colonising and assimilating the West Bank and East Jerusalem into some mythical Eretz Israel, a hardening of attitudes towards non-Jews in I/P and an even more flagrant, “f*ck you” disregard for any norms of civilised behaviour or for international law.

    In Germany, the Nazi régime had certainly by 1938 ceased to be susceptible to international diplomatic pressure; it had probably passed that point not long following the achievement of power. If one assumes as the start of its incubation period Versailles (1919), the Thousand Year Reich had a span from conception though birth to its death of 26 years. It was ended only by comprehensive military defeat. Israel as a recognised, political entity has been going for the thick end of 70 years.

    • echinococcus
      June 9, 2016, 7:11 am

      Rasher,

      Very good observation. Of course the Zionist entity is an irrational actor way past the point of no return. This reality, however, does not make BDS ineffective (assuming it becomes directed at telling targets).

      Boycott will make the Zionists more combative but successfully isolating them and cutting their economical umbilical cord with the US would leave them with no means of subsistence. Even if the English-speaking Puritan countries cannot be made to sanction, they can be made to stop supporting too conspicuously for fear of their own isolation.

      In any case a well-organized boycott and general isolation would be very powerful in contributing to a military defeat. If anyone is expecting a peaceful solution, of course that is absurd, as also shown by your remarks.

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