Last updated: 13 July, 2015

Video challenges Israel self-defence claim in Palestinian killing

A video released by a watchdog Monday challenges an Israeli account that a soldier was in danger when he shot dead a Palestinian who fled after stoning his jeep.

Mohammad Kasba, 17, was shot dead on July 3 by Colonel Israel Shomer after stoning his military vehicle close to the Qalandia checkpoint, south of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli army said Shomer and another soldier had opened fire when the vehicle was damaged, “and in response to the imminent danger”.

But a video distributed by the B’Tselem human rights group, with footage from a surveillance camera at an adjacent gas station, shows a person running towards a military jeep and throwing a stone at it.

The vehicle stops, and two men are seen getting out of it and running out of the frame in pursuit of the stone-thrower.

B’Tselem cited eyewitnesses as saying that Shomer shot Kasba “from a distance of some 10 metres (yards)” and then left the scene without getting medical aid for the teen, who eventually died.

“The claim (Kasba) posed a mortal threat to the soldiers at the time of the shooting, having fled the scene, is unreasonable,” B’Tselem said. “Feeling a sense of danger is not enough to justify any action.”

The army on Monday refused to comment on the shooting or the video beyond stating the incident was being examined by military police, but Israeli media reported Shomer had been questioned under warning last week.

The incident was part of a series of violent altercations in the West Bank and east Jerusalem since the start of Ramadan, which is to end this week.

Israel has responded to the violence by revoking permits for Palestinians living in the West Bank to visit relatives in the Gaza Strip and has limited Palestinian access to flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound.