Faith Community and Human Rights Organizations Urge Obama to Investigate Killing of U.S. Citizen
Palestinian-American Mahmoud Shaalan was killed by Israeli soldiers
WASHINGTON, DC (September 28, 2016) – Fifteen human rights, civil rights, and faith organizations, including Global Ministries, sent a letter calling on President Obama to demand that Israel publicly release all evidence related to the recent investigation into the fatal shooting of U.S. citizen Mahmoud Shaalan by Israeli soldiers. (Read the full text of the letter here.)
On February 26, Shaalan, a 16-year-old Palestinian-American born and raised in Florida, was shot by Israeli soldiers multiple times at a checkpoint near the Beit El settlement in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. After Shaalan was shot, soldiers reportedly stripped his body, left him bleeding on the road for more than two hours, and prevented a Palestinian ambulance from approaching.
Israeli authorities have informed U.S. officials that they found no criminal wrongdoing and that Israel will not further pursue the case. Israel has not released any details or evidence collected from the investigation.
“We are also calling on the administration to conduct an independent investigation into the killing of Mahmoud Shaalan,” said Raed Jarrar, Government Relations Manager at American Friends Service Committee. “As the largest supplier of military aid to Israel, the U.S. has a responsibility to make sure weapons we supplied were not used in this unlawful killing.”
“At a time when cameras have documented officer-involved shootings of civilians in the US, it is shocking that the White House has yet to publicly demand that Israel release the video footage from its own fatal shooting of U.S. citizen Mahmoud Shaalan,” said Sunjeev Bery, Middle East North Africa Advocacy Director for Amnesty International USA. “It is time for the Obama Administration to publicly demand that Israel release all video footage from the military checkpoint where Israeli soldiers fatally shot a U.S. citizen.”
“Israel has enjoyed utter impunity for killing United States citizens Rachel Corrie, Furkan Doğan, and now Mahmoud Shaalan, as well as gravely injuring many more,” said Maria LaHood, Deputy Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights. “It is long past time for the United States government to stand up to Israel and demand transparency and accountability for killing our citizens, and to conduct its own thorough investigation.”
“The Jewish tradition teaches, that ‘whoever destroys a soul, it is considered as if he has destroyed an entire world,’” said Rabbi Joseph Berman, Manager of Government Affairs and Grassroots Advocacy Jewish Voice for Peace. “When the state has taken a life, they have destroyed an entire world and they are obligated to investigate and take responsibility for their actions.”
The organizations signed on to the letter are American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), American Muslims for Palestine, Amnesty International USA, Arab-American Institute (AAI), Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Defense for Children International – Palestine, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Global Ministries of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and United Church of Christ, Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), National Lawyers Guild (NLG), Presbyterian Church (USA), United Methodist Church, General Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Kairos Response, and the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.
Raed Jarrar, AFSC: 202-483-3341, RJarrar@afsc.org