US calls on Israel to probe Palestine shooting deaths

By Michael Hernandez, Wednesday, May 21, 2014

“We look to the government of Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident”

“We look to the government of Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. on Tuesday called on the Israeli government to investigate the fatal shooting of two Palestinian youths in the West Bank last week.

Defense for Children International, a human rights group, released a video on YouTube allegedly depicting the shootings of two Palestinians, Muhammad Abu Thahr, 16, and Nadim Nuwara, 17, by Israeli security forces in the city of Beitunia on May 15.

Abu Thahr and Nuwara, as well as a third teenager who survived, were shot in the upper body, according to doctors at the Ramallah Hospital in the West Bank.

The Israeli military has maintained that rubber bullets, not live rounds, were used in the confrontation. But medical sources reported that the deceased youths were shot with live ammunition.

“We look to the government of Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident,” said Jen Psaki, the State Department spokesperson while speaking to the press Tuesday. “Including whether or not the use of force was proportional to the threat posed by the demonstrators.”

Psaki said the U.S. would not undertake an evaluation of the force used but stressed Israel should conduct its own investigation.

The deaths came amid street protests on Nakba Day, the day Palestinians mark as the loss of their homeland during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Prior to the shootings, protesters had been throwing stones at a nearby Israeli military position outside of Israel’s Ofer Prison. Still, those shot in the released footage did not appear to be involved at the time of their shootings.

The two-minute video was edited down from six hours of surveillance footage from a camera affixed to a nearby Palestinian-owned company, according to the rights group.

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