IDF soldiers rapped for West Bank deaths

By Jessica Elgot, April 27, 2010
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Protests were violent in Iraq Burin, a Palestinian village in the West Bank

Protests were violent in Iraq Burin, a Palestinian village in the West Bank

Three IDF officers have been disciplined and one demoted over the killing of four Palestinians during protests in the West Bank.

The shootings happened in March this year near the Palestinian village of Iraq Burin and the day after at the Awarta checkpoint.

Troops were deployed into the area to stop Palestinian protesters storming the settlement of Bracha.

A statement given after the investigation, which was conducted by IDF chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi, said: “The events could have ended differently from a professional standpoint and the difficult results could have been prevented.”

Two brothers, Mohammed and Osayed Qadus, died from their injuries after the IDF used rubber bullets against protesters throwing firebombs.

The family of the two boys said they had been returning home from college and had not been part of the protest.

The human rights organisation, B’tselem, said an x-ray of Mohammed’s skull showed a live bullet in his head, but the IDF said they could not confirm that the x-ray was accurate, and denied that live rounds of ammunition were used against protesters.

Two more men were killed the following day at the Awarta checkpoint after two Palestinian men were “acting suspiciously,” one throwing a bottle at a soldier. The other one allegedly raised “a sharp object”.

The IDF statement said: "While the soldier, believing his life was at risk, acted subjectively, the chief of the general staff holds the officers responsible for training their soldiers to act in difficult operational situations."

One of the soldiers who had been manning the checkpoint has been demoted.

Sarit Michaeli of B’tselem said that this investigation ought only to be the beginning. She said: "The process that has been completed by the Israeli Defence Force is an internal operational debrief. The question we're raising is, if these people were killed unlawfully, the proper avenue is a criminal investigation.”

    Last updated: 3:31pm, April 27 2010