Maureen Clare Murphy
The Electronic Intifada / January 25, 2023
Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, one of them reportedly a child, in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.
In both cases, Israeli authorities released video footage that the state apparently believes justifies its use of lethal force.
Muhammad Ali, 17, was shot and critically wounded during a punitive home demolition raid in Shuafat refugee camp in East Jerusalem. He later died from his wounds at a hospital.
A video montage showing the incident from multiple angles was released by Israeli police following the incident.
The video shows a masked person, presumably Muhammad, pointing an object that looks like a gun at the raiding occupation forces. Aerial footage shows Muhammad running fast and dropping the object before collapsing in the street.
Given how fast he appears to be running before he drops the object and falls to the ground, it is possible that Muhammad was shot as he was running away, posing no plausible danger to anyone.
Israeli police said that the object held by Muhammad was a fake gun.
The video shows Muhammad in a crowd in the camp, including people who don’t appear to be involved in the confrontations with police.
Police raided the camp to demolish a home belonging to the family of Udai Tamimi, who killed an Israeli soldier and seriously injured a guard at a checkpoint near Shuafat in October last year.
Tamimi evaded capture at the scene of the shooting, after which the Israeli army sealed off and raided Shuafat refugee camp and nearby areas of East Jerusalem. The closures prevented some 130,000 Palestinians from accessing medical care, their workplaces and schools while raiding soldiers effectively turned the neighborhoods into war zones – sparking protests throughout the West Bank.
Nearly two weeks after the deadly checkpoint shooting, Tamimi was shot and killed during a gun battle near Ma’aleh Adumim settlement that left a guard lightly injured.
Punitive home demolitions are a form of collective punishment – a war crime against Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation – and one long championed by Israel’s high court.
Graphic footage – apparently taken by a camp resident and not released by Israeli police – appears to show Israeli Border Police officers searching Muhammad’s body and emptying his pockets rather than providing first aid to the incapacitated youth.
Video footage and photos from the daytime raid show a huge deployment of Israeli paramilitary forces in the camp:
Wednesday’s operation in Shuafat was the second deadly punitive home demolition raid this year.
Two Palestinians, one of them a 17-year-old boy, were killed during one such raid in Kafr Dan in the northern West Bank on 2 January and a third died as a result of his injuries around two weeks later.
Occupation forces raided Kafr Dan to demolish the homes of two Palestinians killed by the military during a shooting attack in September in which an Israeli soldier was shot dead.
Also on Wednesday, Israeli occupation forces shot and killed Arif Abdelnasser Lahlouh, a 20-year-old from Jenin refugee camp, at a military checkpoint near the northern West Bank town of Qalqilya.
A 20-second clip of security footage released by Israel’s public broadcaster shows Lahlouh getting out of a vehicle and running towards soldiers while appearing to hold something in his hand. The footage shows that a soldier shoots Lahlouh at close range and that no attempt was made to subdue him by less lethal means.
Lahlouh is the 20th Palestinian to be killed by Israeli soldiers, police and settlers in the West Bank so far this year. Five of those killed were children.
In a preliminary report leaked to media this week, the Israeli military admitted that the shooting death of a Palestinian man in front of one of his children earlier this month was unjustified.
Ahmad Kahlah, 45, was shot during an argument at a flying checkpoint in the central West Bank on 15 January.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said at the time that Kahlah’s shooting death “amounts to an extrajudicial killing.”
The Israeli military changed its version of events multiple times, first falsely claiming that Kahlah was attempting to carry out an attack when he was killed. Then they claimed that Kahlah had not followed soldiers’ orders and had attempted to grab a soldier’s weapon.
Video of the incident recorded by a bystander contradicted Israel’s claims.
Kahlah’s family said that the man and his son were on their way to work in a nearby village when the father of four was killed.
Israel did not release any security or body camera footage of the incident as it did in the killings of Muhammad in Shuafat and Lahlouh in Qalqilya on Wednesday.
Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada