U.N. calls for investigation of Palestinian deaths
A senior UN official has called for an investigation into the deaths of two Palestinian teenagers shot dead last week by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank.
On Tuesday, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, urged an “independent and transparent” probe into the circumstances surrounding the boys’ deaths.
“It is of serious concern that initial information appears to indicate that the two Palestinians killed were both unarmed and appeared to pose no direct threat.”
Musaab Nuwarah, 20, and Mohammed Udeh, 17, were shot during a demonstration marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba Day, or the Day of Catastrophe, on May 15 outside Ofer prison near the city of Ramallah.
The Palestinian rights group Defense for Children International has released a closed circuit television footage showing the fatal shootings, which rights group B'Tselem says supported its findings that troops killed the teenagers without cause by firing live rounds from more than 200 meters away. The soldiers were in “zero danger” at the time, Sarit Michaeli of B'Tselem noted.
Israeli officials have rejected the footage, saying it is tampered with.
Meanwhile, Hanan Ashrawi from the Palestine Liberation Organization accused the Israeli government of the “deliberate execution” of the two Palestinian teenagers.
“In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the deliberate execution of two Palestinian teenagers who were fatally shot with live ammunition outside Ofer prison last week,” she said on Tuesday.
The senior Palestinian official added that the Israeli government'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.”
The Nakba Day marks the anniversary of the forcible eviction of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland by Israeli troops in 1948.
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