B’Tselem July 2015 newsletter
In July we published the findings of our investigation into the killing of Palestinian teenager Muhammad ‘Ali-Kosba by the Commander of the Binyamin Regional Brigade Col. Yisrael Shomer. The findings, which included video footage, disproved the conflicting versions published by the IDF Spokesperson, whereby Shomer both felt in mortal danger when he fired and also that he carried out suspect apprehension procedure.
B’Tselem found that the lethal shots were fired while ‘Ali-Kosba, who had thrown a stone at the commander’s vehicle, was fleeing the scene and therefore no longer posed a real threat. The fact that three bullets struck the teen in the torso belies the claim that Shomer was following the procedure for apprehending a suspect, which permits firing only at the legs of a suspect. Recently we also reported the MAG Corps’ decision to close the investigation into the March 2010 killing of cousins Muhammad and Usayed Qadus in the village of ‘Iraq Burin. The investigation yielded contradictory findings, and its conclusions – which required five years of work by the Military Police Investigation Unit (MPIU) and the MAG Corps – were remarkably similar to those of the internal operational inquiry ordered by the chief of staff a month after the incident.
The MPIU investigation into Col. Shomer’s lethal shooting of ‘Ali-Kosba has just begun, yet it is unlikely to yield much, given not only past experience but also that MPIU investigators did not themselves obtain the obvious evidence of footage from surveillance cameras at a nearby gas station. Moreover, the brigade commander was broadly backed by the OC Central Command and by politicians, including the Minister of Justice. Can any investigation be effective and objective under such circumstances?
Itamar Barak, Data Coordinator