By Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Press Release, 12 October 2015
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns in the strongest terms the crime committed by Israeli forces on Monday morning, 12 October 2015, in occupied East Jerusalem, which resulted in killing Mostafa al-Khateeb on the grounds of suspicions, as this crime amounts to extra-judicial execution. Committing such crimes as a policy adopted by Israeli forces is a translation of the decisions taken by the Israeli government and statements made by its members inciting for killing Palestinian civilians, who carry out and/or attempt to carry out stabbings against Israeli forces, police and settlers. Furthermore, PCHR denounces this crime that is added to the series of Israeli crimes committed in East Jerusalem in particular, and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in general. Therefore, PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate action and fulfill its legal and moral obligations to protect the Palestinian civilians in the oPt. PCHR believes that the silence of the international community towards these crimes encourages the Israeli government to continue its policy that violates international humanitarian law.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 08:20, on the abovementioned day, while Mostafa Adel al-Khateeb (18), from Sour Baher village south of occupied East Jerusalem, was inside his car near al-Asbat Gate, which is one of the Old City gates, Israeli forces ordered him to step out of the car to be searched. Once he did, Israeli forces directly opened fire at him, as he was putting his hand in his pocket, raising suspicion for Israeli forces of an attempt to stab Israeli soldiers in the area. As a result, he was killed by over 10 bullets; some bullets hit him in the head and others penetrated his body.
The Israeli police was confused when addressing the incident. In the first statement made by the Israeli police, it was reported that the young man had stabbed a settler. However, they issued another statement claiming that he stabbed an Israeli soldier, but a third statement claimed that he refused to obey the Israeli Border Guard officer’s orders to be searched and that he was hiding a knife in his pocket to stab somebody over there. The final statement explained that he attempted to stab an Israeli soldier in the place, but the bulletproof vest protected the soldier.
It should be noted that this crime is the fifth of its kind committed by Israeli forces in Jerusalem within 10 days. On 03 October 2015, Israeli special officers killed Mohannad Shafiq Halabi (19) on the grounds of stabbing 2 settlers near the Hospice Hotel in al-Wad Street in the Old City. Few hours later, an Israeli police officer opened fire from a close range at Fadi Samir Mostafa Aloon (19), from al-Eisawiya village, northeast of East Jerusalem, as they claimed that he attempted to stab a 15-year-old settler. In addition, on 10 October 2015, Israeli police officers opened fire at Ishac Qasem Badran (16), from Kufor Aqeb north of the city, after he stabbed 2 settlers in al-Mesrara area, where he was left bleeding to death. Also on the same day, Israeli forces opened fire at Mohammed Sa’id Mohammed Ali (19), from Shu’fat refugee camp, after he stabbed 2 officers of the Israeli special forces in al-Amoud Gate area. As a result, Ali was immediately killed.
PCHR strongly condemns the use of excessive force by Israeli forces against the Palestinian civilians in disregard for their lives. PCHR stresses that in the above-mentioned cases, Israeli forces could have used less force against the victims or could have arrested them. 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.