The B’Tselem and Yesh Din human rights groups on Tuesday blasted a recently
received IDF report that Magistrate Advocate-General Maj.-Gen.
Efroni had closed the four-year-old investigation into the killing of
noncombatant Palestinian Bassem Abu Rahmeh.
The story of the Bil’in
resident, 30 when he was killed, was featured in the film Five Broken Cameras
following his death in April 2009.
But according to the human rights
groups, until they filed a petition to the High Court of Justice to push for a
decision, the IDF had not even opened an investigation, and did not do so until
Abu Rahmeh was killed when an extended-range teargas grenade
hit him in the chest during a demonstration against the West Bank security
barrier in his home village of Bil’in.
According to the petitioners,
three video segments filmed during the demonstration prove that Abu Rahmeh was
situated to the east of the barrier, did not act violently and did not endanger
the soldiers in any way.
The petitioners also attached an opinion
prepared by international experts who analyzed the films documenting the
incident and determined that the grenade was aimed directly at Abu
Given that Abu Rahmeh did not pose any threat to the soldiers,
the shooting constituted a criminal offense and the soldier who fired the
grenade should be prosecuted, said B’Tselem.
B’Tselem said that the IDF’s
report, which was made to the High Court in June as part of the ongoing
petition, and only recently released to B’Tselem, said that there was
insufficient evidence to justify a criminal investigation and that the
investigation had been full and comprehensive.
The IDF did not issue a
formal public statement on the case.
B’Tselem blasted the IDF’s report on
the case, claiming that the IDF must explain in detail its justifications for
closing the case, and that mere generalities were insufficient.
lawyer Emily Schaeffer said that the case was “further proof” that the IDF does
not want to “arrive at the truth” even in “extreme cases like this
The IDF did recently release its full case file in another incident
of a killing of a Palestinian noncombatant, but frequently does not produce such
an entire file, and says that the need to protect classified information, like
its operational tactics, prevents full disclosure.