Amnesty International demands Israel to stop the ‘unlawful killing’ of Palestinians

Published October 28th, 2015 - 11:20 GMT

Amnesty International on Tuesday demanded Israel to stop a pattern of unlawful killings in occupied Palestinian territory.

“There is mounting evidence that, as tensions have risen dramatically, in some cases Israeli forces appear to have ripped up the rulebook and resorted to extreme and unlawful measures,” said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

“Intentional lethal force should only be used when absolutely necessary to protect life,” Luther added.

“Instead we are increasingly seeing Israeli forces recklessly flouting international standards by shooting to kill in situations where it is completely unjustified.”

The international rights group released the statement following ongoing investigations into what it termed Israel’s use of “intentional lethal force” against Palestinians “without justification.”

Investigations documented at least four cases of Palestinians deliberately shot dead when they posed no imminent threat.

In other cases, Palestinians were shot and left to bleed without medical attention, in violation of the prohibition of torture and other ill-treatment, the group said.

Amnesty cited the case of 19-year-old Saad Muhammad Youssef al-Atrash, shot by Israeli forces while retrieving an ID card from his pocket on the request of an Israeli soldier.

Israeli police labelled the incident as an “attempted stabbing,” Amnesty said, however eyewitnesses said the teen posed no threat before being shot by a soldier standing behind him six or seven times.

Al-Atrash was then left to bleed on the ground for around 40 minutes without medical treatment.  Another 20 minutes reportedly passed as the teen waited in front of the ambulance before being put inside and taken away.

The eyewitness also reported seeing soldiers “bring a knife and place it in the dying man’s hand,” Amnesty added.

Other cases investigated by Amnesty include Dania Irsheid, 17, Fadi Alloun, 19, and Hadeel al-Hashlamoun, 22.

Extrajudicial execution and the ICC

Amnesty’s statement comes as a UN Security Council resolution being drafted by New Zealand would call on Palestinians to scrap taking Israel to the International Criminal Court in preparation for a renewed peace process, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.

Palestinian leadership has sworn this month to bring cases of “extrajudicial execution” of Palestinians by Israeli forces to the ICC.

Over 60 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 1, around half of whom have been shot dead during stabbing attacks, sevreal of which have been disputed by eyewitnesses.

The draft resolution would also require Israel to stop settlement construction and home demolitions in the occupied West Bank.

The EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon have met separately with Israeli, Palestinian, and Jordanian leaders over the past week in effort to tamp down increasing violence in the area.

The Middle East Quartet met Friday in Vienna and is expected to travel to the Middle East in preparation for renewed peace talks.

When Kerry on Oct. 24 asked Abbas about the wave of unrest that has swept the occupied Palestinian territory, including a series of stabbing attacks, Abbas told Kerry that young Palestinians were "angry, hopeless, and seeking independence and freedom."

While Netanyahu and Abbas have both acknowledged in recent months that they would be willing to meet, attempted peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinian leadership have been ongoing for decades and are largely viewed as having failed to make any progress towards ending the nearly 50 year military occupation by Israel.

The most recent spate of negotiations led by the United States collapsed in April 2014.

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