Target: Chief of General Staff Rav Aluf Gadi Eizenkot
Goal: Fully investigate the alleged death of Palestinian teens at police force hands.
A young boy was reportedly gunned down by a soldier after throwing a rock at a windshield in Palestine. Mohammad al-Kasbeh was 17 years old when he allegedly broke the windshield of Colonel Israel Shomer in protest of Israel’s occupation of Palestine. Shomer allegedly got out of his car and shot at the fleeing teen, despite there no longer being any threat to his life.
Law permits Israel Defense Forces to shoot at the legs of fleeing targets who refuse to stop and international law only allows the use of deadly force by security officers when there is no other way to stop a threat to life. Shomer was no longer in danger with the rock having caused no injury and the suspect fleeing, yet brief examination of the body has shown that al-Kasbeh was shot in the back, shoulder and jaw at close range.
Use of deadly force by security officers in Palestine is all but uncommon. B’Tselem, a human rights group in Israel, has identified 304 cases in which Palestinians were killed by IDF soldiers in eleven years and only 73 were investigated and nine punished. There has been no autopsy for the body of al-Kasbeh but with recent video, witness accounts and forensic evidence the police have opened an investigation.
Mohammad al-Kasbeh is the third son in his family to die. His eleven year old brother was also shot by a soldier after throwing rocks, and his other brother was killed during a compound raid. This disregard for the life of Palestinian people needs to be punished by the Israeli government if they ever want to reach a peaceful resolution to the conflict that is causing an extreme cost to Palestinian lives.
Allowing officers to go unpunished for shooting children and teenagers using the only weapon available to them, a rock, to try and express their anger cannot continue. Tell the Chief of General Staff to better investigate the actions of IDF soldiers and properly punish them for unnecessarily violent behavior.
Dear Chief of General Staff Eizenkot,
Video allegedly showed an IDF officer shooting down a teenager who threw a rock at a car and was fleeing, and a full investigation should be put into Colonel Shomer and the death of Mohammad al-Kasbeh and his claims that he was solely acting in self defense.
A rock is not that dangerous of a weapon against a semi-automatic rifle, and where al-Kasbeh could have shattered the windshield and caused damage to the soldiers within, he had already fled the scene and was unable to cause any more damage.
An autopsy of al-Kasbeh’s body and a proper investigation following the statements of witnesses and the video tapes recovered from the scene needs to be conducted. The death of al-Kasbeh is a tragedy to his family who already lost two sons, and getting justice for the behavior of the officer is an important step for helping them heal and showing that the government of Israel puts value on the lives of Palestinians and the actions of their soldiers.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: CPT Palestine