A SENIOR Palestinian official has accused Israel of the ‘deliberate execution’ of two Palestinian teenagers shot dead by border policemen in a clash in the West Bank last week.
PLO leader Hanan Ashrawi in a statement said: ‘In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the deliberate execution of two Palestinian teenagers who were fatally shot with live ammunition outside Ofer prison last week.
‘Both boys were unarmed and posed no direct or immediate threat.’
Defence for Children International Palestine has released CCTV footage showing the deaths of 15-year-old Muhammad Audah Abu al-Thahir and 17-year-old Nadim Siyam Nuwarah during last Thursday’s demonstration of about 150 people near the prison.
The protest was to mark the 66th anniversary of Nakba, where Zionist militias drove thousands of Palestinians from their homes in order to form the state of Israel in 1948.
The Israeli military, who were commanding the contingent of border police who attacked the demonstration, claimed that the attacking border police had used ‘anti-riot means and rubber bullet’ against the demonstration.
However Israeli rights group B’Tselem rejects the army’s version of events and said that two other Palestinians aged 15 and 23 were also hit by live fire outside Ofer prison and wounded.
B’Tselem said it had obtained video footage from four security cameras of the killings and said it had ‘strong evidence that live ammunition was used (by the army) and that the fire hit the upper torsos of all four victims.’
In their statement on the killings the civil-right group concluded that: ‘The investigation, compounded by security camera footage of the incident, indicates that the circumstances of the incident in no way justified use of live fire. These findings raise grave suspicion that the killing was willful.’
Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the Assistant UN Secretary General for Political Affairs, responded to the killings by saying that they constitute ‘war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law’.
• Jailed Palestinian leaders Marwan Barghouthi and Ahmad Saadat went on hunger strike on Wednesday.
Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs Issa Qaraqe that over 120 Palestinian prisoners, including the two jailed leaders, went on hunger strike for one day in support of administrative detainees who have been refusing meals for nearly four weeks.
Marwan Barghouthi is a key figure in the Palestinian Fatah movement and a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council. Ahmad Saadat is the secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Some 120 Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike in protest against their detention without charge or trial in Israeli jails. Most of them started their hunger strike 26 days ago. They are demanding Israel change its policy of administrative detention.
Fifteen administrative detainees have been hospitalised since the strike began on April 24, Qaraqe’s statement said.
It added that 15 prisoners in Ashkelon prison warned they would join the open hunger strike if the administrative detainees’ demands were not met.
According to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, ‘unlike a criminal proceeding, administrative detention is not intended to punish a person for an offense already committed, but to thwart a future danger’.