Israeli policeman arrested over Nakba day killings

Published November 12th, 2014 - 10:27 GMT

An Israeli border policeman has been arrested in connection with the fatal May 15 shootings of two Palestinian teenagers, an Israeli police spokesman told Ma'an Wednesday.

Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an via telephone that no other information was available regarding the arrest except that it was related to the Nakba day killings of 15-year-old Muhammad Abu al-Thahir and 17-year-old Nadim Nuwarah in Beituniya. 

Additionally, the Israeli news site Ynet reported that an Israeli investigation had revealed that live fire was used while Israeli forces were dispersing the protests. Israeli forces had initially insisted that live fire was not used, but Palestinian medical sources told media at the time that the wounds that killed the two teens were from live bullets.

Israeli forces shot and killed the teens during a protest rally marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba, and Palestinians across the occupied territories and elsewhere were also commemorating the "catastrophe," when more than 760,000 Palestinians -- estimated today to number more than 5 million with their descendants -- fled or were driven from their homes in 1948.

The killings were caught on camera, as CCTV footage showed that the two teens were not participating in clashes when they were shot dead, and posed no threat to Israeli forces.

Amnesty International condemned the killings, saying the Israeli army has "repeatedly resorted to extreme violence to respond to Palestinian protests against Israel's occupation, discriminatory policies, confiscation of land, and construction of unlawful settlements."

Rifat Kassis, executive director of Defense for Children International -- Palestine, said at the time that "the images captured on video show unlawful killings where neither child presented a direct and immediate threat to life at the time of their shooting." 

"These acts by Israeli soldiers may amount to war crimes, and the Israeli authorities must conduct serious, impartial, and thorough investigations to hold the perpetrators accountable for their crimes," Kassis said.

The US State Department had also urged Israel to conduct a "prompt and transparent investigation."

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