The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) calls in press release for conducting a neutral and impartial investigation into the death of Alaa’ Mohammed ‘Awadh, 30, from Hawara village south of Nablus, as he was shot dead by Israeli forces at Za’tara checkpoint, south of Nablus, on Monday night, 02 June 2014. Israeli forces claimed that the victim fired at them and injured a soldier lightly, but no eyewitnesses were in the area at that time to deny or confirm the Israeli claim. A PCHR field worker was able to obtain a testimony from the taxi driver who transported ‘Awadh. The driver confirmed that ‘Awadh was not carrying anything when he transported him to the checkpoint. PCHR emphasizes that it has documented dozens of crimes of willful killings committed by Israeli forces, which constantly claimed that Palestinian fired at them, but PCHR’s investigations refuted such claims.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, and the testimony of the taxi driver who transported ‘Awad, at approximately 23:35, ‘Alaa’ Mohammed ‘Awadh (30) from Hawara village south of Nablus, asked a taxi driver to drive him to Za’tara Checkpoint, south of Nablus, which is around 4 kilometers away from the village. ‘Awad, who owns a shop for cell phones, told the driver that he wanted to go to the checkpoint in order to receive a number of cell phones from there. The driver took the aforementioned civilian to a place, which is 50 meters away from the southern side of the checkpoint, and ‘Awash got out of the car and stood in a cabin designated for settlers only. The driver drove his car around 1 kilometer to the south till he reached a place where he is allowed to turn around and go back to Hawara village. When he was on his way back, he saw ‘Awadh still standing in his place. When he came back, he saw the Israeli soldiers stationed at the checkpoint stopping a black civilian car and searching it. At approximately 02:45 on Tuesday, 03 June 2014, the taxi driver received a call on his cell phone from an Israeli intelligence officer who told him that he would come to arrest him. Around half an hour later, Israeli soldier raided his house and arrested him. They took him to ‘Awadh’s shop and questioned him on the spot about transporting ‘Awadh to the checkpoint. The driver said that the ‘Awadh had nothing with him when he was in the car and that he drove him to the same place last night and transported him back to his house. He did not know that he was killed until his death was declared via megaphones of mosques in the village at approximately 05:30 today.
PCHR strongly condemns this new crime, which further proves the use of excessive force by Israeli forces against Palestinian civilians in disregard for the civilians’ lives. Therefore, PCHR calls upon the international community to take immediate and effective actions and reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions.