A funeral will take place at noon on Friday for Muhammad Asfour, 22, who died
Thursday, two weeks after soldiers shot him in the head with a rubber-coated
steel bullet during clashes in the course of a protest in his home village of
Abud, northwest of Ramallah, on February 22.
On Thursday, Israeli
authorities handed Asfour’s body over to his family.
Asfour was two days
short of celebrating of his 23rd birthday, according to Abir Kopty of the
Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.
After Asfour as wounded at the
protest in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, he was taken to a
medical center in Nablus.
But because his condition was critical he was
transferred to Ichilov Hospital at Sourasky Medical Center in Tel
Asfour was a fourth-year physical education student at Al-Quds
University in Abu Dis. He had been a member of his village’s soccer
According to Kopty, Asfour is the fifth Palestinian the army has
fatally shot in the West Bank in 2013.
The IDF told The Jerusalem Post
that it had opened an investigation into the incident upon hearing of Asfour’s
It explained that on February 22, a violent and illegal
demonstration took place northwest of Ramallah, in which scores of Palestinians
threw stones at security personnel, who responded with riot dispersal
The IDF only received a report that Asfour had been wounded days
later, it said.
Earlier on Thursday, the B’Tselem NGO wrote to Military
Advocate- General Maj.-Gen. Danny Efroni, demanding immediate investigations
when soldiers severely wound Palestinians, as happened to Asfour.
Military Advocate-General’s Office has a policy of immediately investigating the
deaths of Palestinians killed by the IDF, and this needs to be extended to cases
of severe injury, B’Tselem director Jessica Montel said.
In her letter to
the military advocate- general, wrote, “There is no doubt that the two-week
delay since the event will harm the effectiveness of the
The army, she said, must also investigate the orders
given for the use of rubber-coated steel bullets during the protest. She added
that her organization had repeatedly warned against the danger of such
B’Tselem also asked the IDF to investigate four other incidents,
including one that occurred on February 25, in which the soldiers shot Muhammed
al-Kurdi, during clashes with Palestinians near Rachel’s Tomb on the northern
edge of Bethlehem.
That same day, Udai Saleh, 16, was shot in the head by
a .22 caliber bullet.
He remains in critical condition at Hadassah
University Medical Center in Jerusalem’s Ein Kerem.
On March 1, soldiers
shot Mahmud Awwad in the head with a rubbercoated bullet near the Kalandiya
checkpoint, north of the capital. He is serious condition at Hadassah Ein Kerem.
On the same day, journalist Jihad al-Qadi, 23, was injured during a protest
outside Ofer Prison, near Ramallah. He is in intensive care in Ramallah Medical