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Videos challenge Israeli police account of shootings

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Reprinted from Jonathan Cook Blog

Israel accused of blocking investigations as films suggest security forces quick on trigger with Palestinian suspects

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From Clashes erupt in Jerusalem
Clashes erupt in Jerusalem
(Image by euronews (in English), Channel: Euronews)
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It has been called the "smartphone intifada." After a sharp escalation in violence between Palestinians and Israelis in recent weeks, shocking scenes captured on video have spread across social media.

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According to Israeli human rights organizations, several such videos challenge the accuracy of official Israeli accounts of the circumstances in which police have killed or injured Palestinians.

The footage, the nine groups said in a statement this week, provided concrete evidence that police were "quick to shoot to kill" rather than arrest Palestinians in Jerusalem and Israel who were suspected of involvement in attacks on Israelis Jews.

The shootings, they added, had occurred when the Palestinians posed no physical threat to security forces.

Lawyers have also accused the justice ministry of thwarting investigations, especially into the police killing of Fadi Alloun, a Palestinian from Jerusalem. Security camera footage of his shooting has been withheld and his family has been denied access to his body for an autopsy.

Israel and occupied East Jerusalem, which Israel has illegally annexed, are subject to Israeli civil law -- unlike the West Bank, where Palestinians live under Israeli military rule.

Human rights groups have long complained that Israeli soldiers in the West Bank carry out "extra-judicial executions."

The Israeli government recently announced it was authorizing for the first time the use of live-fire against Palestinians, including children, who throw stones in Israel and Jerusalem.

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Israel includes a population of 1.6 million Palestinians who have citizenship, while most of East Jerusalem's 370,000 Palestinians have Israeli residency permits.

Adalah, a legal centre for Israel's Palestinian citizens, said details of the government's new live-fire regulations had yet to be divulged to them.

But it cited Israeli politicians and police commanders as openly calling for extra-judicial killings since the upswing in tensions.

"Terrorists will not survive"

Jerusalem's police chief, Moshe Edri, is reported to have said: "Anyone who stabs Jews or hurts innocent people is due to be killed." Police minister Gilad Erdan similarly declared: "Every terrorist should know that he will not survive the attack he is about to commit."

Adalah and Addameer, a Palestinian group defending prisoners' rights, sent a letter to Israel's attorney general this week highlighting three cases where video footage documented the unjustified shooting or abuse of Palestinian suspects.

Suhad Bishara, an Adalah lawyer, said the Israeli justice ministry had given no indication that its police investigations unit, Mahash, would investigate any of the incidents.

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Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. He is the 2011 winner of the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are "Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and "Disappearing Palestine: (more...)

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