US and UN call for Nakba Day shooting probe

Ben Sales

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The State Department and the United Nations Security Council both called for an investigation into the killing of two Palestinian teens by Israeli soldiers.

Israel Defense Forces soldiers shot Muhammad Abu Thahr, 15, and Nadim Nuwara, 17, at a Nakba Day rally in the West Bank on May 15.  On Nakba Day, Arabic for “the catastrophe,” Palestinians lament the creation of the State of Israel and the ensuing displacement of Palestinians.

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A spokesman for the IDF said the soldiers did not use live fire at the rally. But B’tselem, an organization that monitors human rights in the West Bank, released video Tuesday that, according to B’tselem, shows the soldiers using live fire. Another video released Tuesday  indicating that the teens were unarmed when they were shot.

In the wake of the footage, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called on Israel to investigate the incident. The UN Security Council released a similar call.

“We look to the government of Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident, including whether or not the use of force was proportional to the threat posed by the demonstrators,” Psaki said, according to the Times of Israel. “We are encouraging the government of Israel to conduct their own investigation.”

The IDF began investigating the incident the day it happened. Although the investigation is ongoing, preliminary findings cleared the soldiers of wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said in a statement that the soldiers acted appropriately, as they “were in a situation where their lives were in danger.”

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