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A Palestinian has been killed every 4.2 days in 2014

Fourteen-year-old Yusef a-Shawamreh, who the IDF killed one week ago in the southern West Bank, was not vandalizing the separation barrier when he was killed, but was crossing it to pick plants on his family’s agricultural land, B’Tselem reported Wednesday following its own investigation.

According to the report, a-Shawamreh was shot when he and two friends, Zahi a-Shawamreh, 13, and al-Muntaser Beallah a-Dardun, 18, were going through a wide gap in the fence that has existed for at least two years; it is safe to say the IDF has known about the gap in the fence. The two surviving youths told B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhash that they heard three or four shots as they got off the road, fired with no advance warning.

This contradicts the IDF’s version of the story, which claims that soldiers saw the youths vandalizing the fence, began procedures to arrest a suspect — which means shouting warnings and then firing in the air – and then shot a-Shawamreh after he and his friends allegedly did not heed the warnings. B’Tselem also reported that although the soldiers provided first aid to a-Shawamreh, a military ambulance took 30 minutes to reach the site of the shooting, despite the fact that there is a military base only two kilometers away. What’s worse, the soldiers were apparently on a proactive ambush mission in broad daylight and should have been aware that Palestinians regularly cross that part of the fence to pick gundelia, a thistle-like edible plant annually harvested at this time of year.

The gap in the barrier through which the three crossed. (Photo by Itamar Barak/B'Tselem)

The gap in the barrier through which the three crossed. (Photo by Itamar Barak/B’Tselem)

This section of the barrier is located well within the West Bank, some 200 meters east of the Green Line, not far from the a-Shawamreh’s home in the south Hebron Hills village of Deir al-‘Asal al-Foqa. The a-Shawamrehs own farmland that is now located on the other side the barrier, and that land is where the three youths were heading to gather plants.

In a statement, B’Tselem said: “By justifying the use of lethal fire in broad daylight at youths who posed no danger to any other persons, the above [IDF] statement conveys a cynical lack of concern for the life of a Palestinian teenager.” The Military Police Criminal Investigations Department (MPCID) has launched an investigation into the incident.

Including a-Shawamreh, the IDF has killed 19 Palestinians in the first 81 days of 2014 — an average of one every 4.26 days.

Eleven were killed in Gaza, about half of them civilians who posed no threat whatsoever, except that they were close to the border fence; others were targeted by Israeli airstrikes in response to fire into Israel. The eight killed in the West Bank include the Jordanian-Palestinian judge shot and killed at the Allenby Crossing, the circumstances of which remain obscure and conflicting. (It certainly doesn’t help that the security cameras were peculiarly not working that day.)

While the circumstances of each killing vary to a degree, the numbers are startling. They tell the story of a military framework all too capable of taking  lives all too often.

The sixth paragraph of this article has been corrected to reflect that on average, one Palestinian was killed every 4.26 days in the first 81 days of the year, and not, as it mistakenly stated due to a typo, 4.26 Palestinians each day.

IDF kills Palestinian suspected of vandalism
2013 was a deadly year in Israel-Palestine

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    1. david

      i believe you made a mistake with your numbers at the end of your article. You started at “the IDF has killed 19 Palestinians in the first 81 days of 2014 — an average of 4.26 a day”. I think you meant to say one every 4.2 days.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Bar

      I think it’s perfectly justified to point out when a civilian has been killed by the IDF, especially if circumstances didn’t warrant it.

      What isn’t justified is conflating the deaths of combatants with those of civilians as if to indicate that they’re all the same or that none of the circumstances are acceptable.

      For example, in your link supposedly explaining what happened to the two men who were killed in Gaza, supposedly among the half of those killed by the IDF who are civilians, the IDF spokesperson rejects B’Tzelem’s assessment and states unequivocally that the men were tampering with the fence.

      Or, another example would be the three Hamas men recently killed in Jenin after shooting at soldiers.

      Maybe a modicum of fairness will actually make your case about unreasonable killings much more effective?

      Reply to Comment
      • William Burns

        IDF statements are irrelevant, given the IDF’s well-known propensity for lying.

        Reply to Comment
        • Vadim

          Our region is so full of serious journalism and truthful sources, it’s a pity that the IDF spoils everything.

          Here’s a lovely example


          From Google Translate –
          “Wild pigs and hamsters, are becoming the new weapons against the Arab countries held peace with Israel…the main weapon used so is albino mice, and found after the search and exploration and scrutiny, that the Israeli authorities concerned, she was working on hatching hamsters, and let it three days and nights without food or drink, and then unloaded the trucks at the border with Egypt Mahrosa at midnight, to act like locusts and spoil the Egyptians and wreak their economy through eat the plantation”

          It’s not as bad as the wild boars story…

          Good thing there’s someone we cat trust, instead of the lying IDF…

          Reply to Comment
          • William Burns

            Wow, there’s crazy stuff on the internet in the Middle East too, just like every other part of the world? Guess the IDF is off the hook, then.

            Reply to Comment
          • Vadim

            Nobody is off the hook. It’s very silly and hypocritical to claim IDF spokesman lies while Maan and the like are great source of information.

            Reply to Comment
        • Bar

          Actually, that is a false claim.

          Here is one example: in Cast Lead the IDF claimed 700 of the killed Palestinians were Hamas combatants. Many human rights groups, the Palestinians and Palestinian supporters all over the world trumpeted the 1400 civilians who were killed by Israel and, when challenged, would say that Israel is lying.

          Then a few months later the head of Hamas’ military acknowledged they suffered losses of about 700 fighters.

          When I challenged a key anti-Israel activist about this, he responded that we can’t believe Hamas and must believe human rights organizations who were sticking to the false numbers.

          Reply to Comment
          • BaladiAkka 1948

            “Then a few monts later the head of Hamas’ military acknowledged they suffered losses of about 700 fighters”
            No, he didn’t ! That interview by London-based al-Hayat of Hamas’ minister of Interior Fathi Hammad has been manipulated by hundreds of zionist propagandists before you.
            The head-line of the AFP press release (on the net, but I’m not able to post the link, google the head line to get the original press release):
            “Hamas says 300 fighters killed in Gaza war”
            A senior Hamas official admitted on Monday that up to 300 fighters were killed in the 2008-2009 war (…)
            On the first day of the war Israel targeted police stations and 250 martyrs were killed from Hamas and other factions.
            In addition to them, between 200-300 fighters from Al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas’ armed wing) and another 150 security forces were martyred”.
            Neither the 250 Hamas-affiliated policemen (among them 48 young cadets) nor the 150 members of the security forces are considered fighters according to International Law, and the 300 correspond to B’Tselem and Palestinian organizations’ numbers.
            Good try, but the same lie a thousand times doesn’t make it true though.

            Reply to Comment
          • BaladiAkka 1948

            Nope, actually, it’s not 700, no matter how much you spin.
            Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center is not a reliable source, I gave you the original AFP source that has been manipulated by Hasbara (it used to be linked on the wikipedia-page on the casualties of Cast Lead but has been replaced by secondary sources, strange, isn’t it ….). And even your biased source do not mention 700 fighters but 700 militants. Do you know the difference ?
            Here is another link (see if it works):

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            From your link:

            “On the first day of the war Israel targeted police stations and 250 martyrs were killed, from Hamas and other factions,” he told the paper.

            “In addition to them, between 200 and 300 fighters from the Al-Qassam Brigades (Hamas’s armed wing) and another 150 security forces were martyred.”

            His numbers roughly match the 709 “terror operatives” the Israeli military said it had killed during the fighting, which included members of the Hamas-run police force that has patrolled Gaza since the group seized power in 2007.”

            These are COMBATANTS. 709 COMBATANTS. Approximately what the IDF claimed. You want to play games about whether armed men who work for Hamas and other Palestinian groups (many of which are affiliated with Hamas), then knock yourself out. The point remains that the IDF was accurate from the beginning in their claims. On the other hand, as your article demonstrates, Hamas tried to under-report their casualties.

            Reply to Comment
          • BaladiAkka 1948

            Thanks, I’ve already read the article…. and you don’t have to quote it once again, I already did.
            The head-line says “Hamas says 300 fighters killed in Gaza war” and NOT 700 !
            And no, these 250 + 150 are NOT combattants, you and the Zionists in general are NOT (yet) deciding how international law defines a combattant. But nice to know: next time an Israeli is killed by the Palestinian resistance, we’ll just turn him into a ‘combattant’ because he once was in the army….

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            They certainly are combatants. Even poor B’Tzelem had an entire debate about whether the policemen were or weren’t combatants…but thankfully Hamas has resolved that question for all of us.

            1200 victims, of which 700+ are combatants.

            Of course, none of this needed to have happened. The Gazans could have just decided to stop with the rockets and tunnels into Israel. Now look at what they did…nobody can trust that a unilateral exit from Judea and Samaria won’t end up with more of these types of attacks.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            Not only haven’t I lied, your articles proving me wrong have only confirmed what I’ve said.

            B’Tzelem was wrong. They know it now because Hamas leaders have announced it publicly. B’Tzelem, interestingly, was very careful to ensure that the numbers showed a tiny majority of non-combatants killed to combatants killed. The reason is obvious, they and the anti-Israel crowd could say “more civilians killed than combatants.” Sadly for all of us, it turns out that they lied and even after it became evident that the IDF numbers were accurate (thanks to the admission of the Hamas guys), B’Tzelem didn’t change their available information.

            Not to worry, I’m sure NIF and a few choice EU funds will keep that group going.

            Reply to Comment
          • BaladiAkka 1948

            Of course, you’re lying and my articles do NOT prove that you’re right. Quite the contrary ! How manipulative can one be ? Thanks for showing how dishonest Zionist propaganda really is.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            Nope, let’s return to my original statement: “Here is one example: in Cast Lead the IDF claimed 700 of the killed Palestinians were Hamas combatants. Many human rights groups, the Palestinians and Palestinian supporters all over the world trumpeted the 1400 civilians who were killed by Israel and, when challenged, would say that Israel is lying. Then a few months later the head of Hamas’ military acknowledged they suffered losses of about 700 fighters.”

            So what have your articles shown? That the head of Hamas acknowledged the deaths of 700 combatants. He didn’t differentiate. To him they are all part of the fighting mechanism.

            Which brings us back to the fact that the IDF was right in the first place. I was right. My information has been corroborated by the articles you’ve provided and the only argument you have left is one of splitting hairs and calling me names.

            Next time, try to get me on something where you’re actually right (fat chance!).

            Reply to Comment
          • BaladiAkka 1948

            Of course, Fathi Hammad differnetiated between the fighters, the police officers and the security forces, that’s why the head-line says “300 fighters”, and that’s why Hammad use the word ‘martyr’. Do you know Arabic, do you know the word ‘martyr’ and its meaning, and the difference between ‘fighter’ and ‘martyr’ ?
            Your insistence on manipulating the source shows signs of a pathological stubborness.
            Irhali !

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            Haaretz, that left wing, Palestinian lovin’ paper, agrees with my language, not yours:


            Martyrs. Militants. fighters. Combatants. Whatever. You can call them whatever you like. At the end of the day, the IDF numbers were accurate. Oh, and just to remind you, Hamas initially said it only suffered 50 dead. It’s a little like reading Times of Israel and Ma’an. One is a newspaper and you can expect truth with some inadvertent mistakes and one is a propaganda machine and you can expect lots of lies sprinkled with some facts to make things seem true.

            I enjoy debating you, it makes me laugh.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Setting aside the other cases, there is now clear allegation of IDF fabrication over the death of a-Shawamreh, now 14, not 15 nor 21 (as some claimed earlier). It is absurd to speak of vandalism at the fence location photographed. If the soldiers were there to provide first aid to the boy, they could have also strongly requested the same medical response they would receive if wounded. The only bit of sense in this event comes from the claim that

      “the soldiers were apparently on a proactive ambush mission in broad daylight”

      suggesting they were tense and ready to shoot at “the enemy.”

      If this death began at this fence gap; if this gap is indeed at least 2 years old as reported; if soldiers recognized their mistake but did not insist on immediate medical aid or were ignored by their command; if a base is present only 2 kilometers away; there is strong evidence of both intentional suppression of the truth by an IDF spokesperson–and, in my view, a strong case for a wrongful death suit.

      The IDF cannot expect to be believed if it lets this incident go uncorrected, and correction must be made quite publicly. In my view, this is exactly what a lack of independent review breeds in an occupation force. Morality seeps away with this boy’s life.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Jan

      Amnesty International recently issued a searing report on the trigger happy IDF soldiers who continue to kill Palestinians.

      The full report is available on the internet. Amnesty’s web site states the following:

      “Israeli forces have displayed a callous disregard for human life by killing dozens of Palestinian civilians, including children, in the occupied West Bank over the past three years with near total impunity, said Amnesty International in a report published today.
      The report, Trigger-happy: Israel’s use of excessive force in the West Bank, describes mounting bloodshed and human rights abuses in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) as a result of the Israeli forces’ use of unnecessary, arbitrary and brutal force against Palestinians since January 2011.
      In all cases examined by Amnesty International, Palestinians killed by Israeli soldiers did not appear to be posing a direct and immediate threat to life. In some, there is evidence that they were victims of wilful killings, which would amount to war crimes.
      “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,” said Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
      “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.”

      Amnesty International has a long and respected history of documenting crimes against humanity in many countries around the world. If Israel doesn’t like being in the list of countries regularly violating human rights and committing war crimes then it should rein in its trigger happy soldiers and keep them out of Palestinian areas where they do not belong.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bar

        Who is the author of that report?

        Reply to Comment
        • directrob

          I know it the whole world is against you, but …

          Don’t imagine that most people, countries and organisations give enough thought to Israel to have any special desire to persecute it.

          Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            There is a long history of entire cultures singling out Jews. Why do you think that something which we’ve seen even in our parents’ lifetimes has been eradicated? It is a fact that a great deal of anti-Israel advocacy (also known as pro-Palestinian advocacy in some circles) relies on age-old negative perceptions of Jews.

            As for bias, take a look at Amnesty’s report. Does it have authors listed?

            Reply to Comment
        • Jan

          Why does the name of the author of the report matter? None of their reports are authored by one person. You can check Amnesty reports on other countries and you will not find a name of the author or authors.
          Are you trying to insinuate that those who wrote the report, a report which you should read, were either Arabs or anti-Zionists? Seems so to me.

          Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            I’ve read the report. I didn’t find it to be serious. Also, the title is unprofessional and indicates a serious bias. This is especially true when considering that more than 3000 (three thousand) times more people were killed in Syria in the same period and yet you don’t see “trigger happy” in Amnesty reports about Syria.

            Who wrote it?

            Reply to Comment
          • directrob

            Bar, I know it is never enough for you, but the text on Syria is indeed quite a bit more serious …

            “Government forces and their associated militias committed war crimes while rampaging through cities, towns and villages perceived to be opposition strongholds in areas including Homs, Idlib, Hama, Damascus and Aleppo governorates. They carried out indiscriminate attacks that killed or injured thousands of civilians. Many of the deaths resulted from the government’s improper use of imprecise battlefield weapons in densely populated civilian areas. In addition to dropping free-fall, unguided bombs from aircraft, security forces fired mortars, artillery, incendiary weapons and rockets in residential areas. They also used internationally banned weapons, including anti-personnel mines and cluster munitions, and systematically looted, destroyed and burned property and sometimes the bodies of those they killed.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            I see. So for Syria, it’s “serious” but for Israel it’s “not as serious” and they can use language such as “trigger happy.” Not only that, we don’t know who wrote it, so we have to believe that all of Amnesty stands behind it.

            At least the Middle East guys at HRW have the cojones to put their names on their reports so we can know they went on fundraising trips to Saudi Arabia and tried to raise money on the basis of their anti-Israel reports.

            Reply to Comment
          • directrob

            trigger-happy (Oxford)

            “Ready to react violently, especially by shooting, on the slightest provocation”

            example: “territory controlled by trigger-happy bandits”

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            Thank you for proving how biased and ridiculous the Amnesty report’s title actually is.

            How many interactions does the IDF have with Palestinians daily, much less over a period of a couple of years which this report covers? Right. Trigger happy isn’t a fair description, is it?

            And yet, 3000 times the number of dead in Syria over the same period and we don’t get cutesy, salesman-like titles for that conflict. Heck, Egypt killed 500 in a day. Did Amnesty call them trigger happy?

            Reply to Comment
    5. Danny

      According to hasbara trolls, a dead Palestinian every 4.2 days is nothing compared to the number of dead Syrians per day.

      See how much better we are than Syria?

      Reply to Comment
    6. mark

      and Yusef a-Shawamreh was just a cute little flower picker sweetly picking flowers for the dinner table. How cute. i agree with Frank Pennestri its bullshit. wake up girl you have been to too many Nakba day protests.

      Reply to Comment
    7. zioness

      all if fair in love and war, if the Palis want to cut out the blood shed and incitement they can live wonderful lives

      Reply to Comment
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