The IDF rejected Palestinian claims that video footage released by a rights group Tuesday shows "the deliberate execution" of two Palestinian teens by Israeli soldiers last week.
The video clip, which was obtained by Defense for Children Palestine, shows two youths being shot during what appeared to be a lull in clashes between rock-throwing demonstrators and soldiers near the Ofer Prison in Beitunia, not far from Ramallah.
Responding to the new video, the IDF Spokesperson Unit said, "On Thursday, an illegal and violent disturbance occurred in Beitunia. The said video is edited in a tendentious manner and does not reflect the level of violence that occurred at the disturbance."
The military added that an initial check of the incident and interviews of security personnel who dealt with it found that "no live fire" was used. At the same time, the military prosecution has ordered Military Police to launch a limited investigation into the incident.
The Palestine Liberation Organization condemned what it called “the deliberate execution” of the Palestinians teens.
“The images captured on video show unlawful killings where neither child presented a direct and immediate threat to life at the time of their shooting," said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. "These acts by Israeli soldiers may amount to war crimes, and the Israeli authorities must conduct serious, impartial, and thorough investigations to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes."
Hanan Ashrawi, who serves as a member of the PLO Executive Committee, released a statement on Tuesday condemning “the deliberate execution of two Palestinian teenagers (Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh and Nadeem Siam Nawara) who were fatally shot with live ammunition outside Ofer Prison last week. Both boys were unarmed and posed no direct or immediate threat.”
“Israel’s use of excessive and indiscriminate violence and live ammunition at non-violent Palestinian demonstrations constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity under international law.”
“Last week’s killings are part of a deliberate policy of escalation and of violence targeting Palestinian children. Israel’s actions, in addition, are in direct violation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which Israel ratified in 1991.”
“We call on the United Nations, the European Union, and other members of the international community to take immediate action and adopt the necessary punitive measures and initiatives required to hold Israel accountable for the extrajudicial killing of Palestinian civilians, and for its use of live ammunition on Palestinian civilians, among other violations of international and humanitarian law,” concluded Dr. Ashrawi.
Last week, military sources said rubber bullets had been fired in the course of a riot involving 150 Palestinians who had gathered to mark "Nakba Day." The rioters hurled Molotov cocktails, burning tires and rocks at soldiers and Border Police officers.
"The rioting was very serious," an army source stated. "This was a very aggressive attack on security personnel," the source added.