Some Israeli killings of Palestinian civilians in West Bank may be war crimes

RT: February 27, 2014

Israeli forces have killed dozens of Palestinian civilians, including children, over the last three years, and with almost complete impunity, according to the latest Amnesty International report.

Some of the killings were unnecessary and willful, which may qualify them as war crimes.

The report called “Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank” reveals the unnecessary and brutal killings, as well as human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

The Palestinians killed by Israelis didn’t present an immediate or direct threat to the soldiers’ lives – in all cases studied by Amnesty since 2011, the human rights group’s website stated. In a few incidents, the killings were apparently willful, which would amount to war crimes.

Several victims were shot in the back, allegedly trying to flee and posing no danger to the Israeli military forces, others were stone-throwing demonstrators attacked by lethal means.

“The report presents a body of evidence that shows a harrowing pattern of unlawful killings and unwarranted injuries of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces in the West Bank,” Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa program at Amnesty International, said.

In the latest incident Thursday, Israeli forces opened fire and killed a Palestinian man they were seeking to arrest in the occupied West Bank, after he barricaded himself inside his house, Reuters reported. An eyewitness told the news agency that no shots were heard from inside the home before the Israeli forces opened fire.

Despite many incidents having happened a few years ago, the findings of the investigations haven’t been disclosed.

The Amnesty officials are sure that those are not separate incidents, but Israeli government policy.

“The frequency and persistence of arbitrary and abusive force against peaceful protesters in the West Bank by Israeli soldiers and police officers – and the impunity enjoyed by perpetrators – suggests that it is carried out as a matter of policy,” Luther said.

(Read the full report at RT)

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