The Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem issued a letter on Thursday addressed to
Israel’s Attorney General and the Advocate General of the Israeli Military, demanding that they carry out criminal investigations into the assassination of four Palestinian resistance fighters in Bethlehem earlier in March.

B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories was established in 1989 by a group of prominent academics, attorneys, journalists, and Knesset members. It endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel.

In their letter, they refer to the case of Mohammad Shehadeh, Ahmad Bilbul, ‘Imad a-Kamal, and Issa Marzuq were killed in Bethlehem on March 12, 2008 when Israeli under cover troops attacked their car in Bethlehem city center.

B’Tselem demanded an investigation into the personal responsibility of the Israeli army commanders in the West Bank and the chief of staff.

Last year the Israeli High Court of Justice s ruled that the army is prohibited to intentionally kill Palestinians taking part in hostilities if less harmful means can be employed, such as abducting them and trying them.

The Israeli human right groups reveled that during its investigation of the incident suspicion was found regarding violation of the High Court’s ruling, no attempt was made to abduct the four men, and that troops operated as though on an assassination mission, shooting the men from behind with massive automatic gunfire although the latter did not try to escape or use their weapons.

B’Tselem’s investigation also raises a suspicion that the Israeli undercover forces “confirmed the killing” of the four men. Testimonies of eyewitnesses indicate that after three of those killed in the attack , who were sitting in a parked car, were shot, an undercover soldier went over to the car and fired a single shot at each of them, from point blank range. The same person also shot ‘Imad al-Kamal, the driver, who was lying wounded and unarmed on the road beside the car.

A week before this assassination, Mohammad Shehadeh, a known Islamic Jihad leader, was attacked by the Israeli military, and his home in Bethlehem was demolished.

B’Tselem ,in its letter, notes that testimonies given by the wife and children of Muhammad Shehadeh indicate that they were severely abused by the Israeli troops who demolished the family house.

Mohammad Shehadeh, Ahmad Bilbul, ‘Imad a-Kamal, were known in Bethlehem as resistance leaders, while Issa Marzuq was an elected member of the Bethlehem municipality.