06/08/16 | International Solidarity Movement | al-Khalil Team
On Wednesday, June 8th, 2016, human rights defender Imad Abu Shamsiyah testified in an Israeli court over the case of the extrajudicial execution of Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron).
Abdel Fattah al-Sharif and Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi were both gunned down by Israeli forces at Gilbert checkpoint, in the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood of al-Khalil on March 24, 2016. Imad Abu Shamsiyah captured footage of the army medic and soldier Elor Azraya executing al-Sharif with a shot in the head as he was lying motionless on the ground, after already being shot at several times. The footage went viral and led to Imad and his family receiving death-threats from settlers that assured them that they would meet the same fate as the Dawabsha family who was burned alive in their houme during a settler-arson attack in the West Bank village of Douma. Israeli forces have failed to provide any kind of protection for the family, who has repeatedly been attacked. Instead, human rights organisations are attempting to provide a protective presence.
Recent witness statements claim that not only al-Sharif, but also al-Qasrawi, were executed in cold blood with shots to the neck or head, at close range, while incapacitated and posing no threat. The fact that Israeli surveillance footage of the event is yet to be publicized can only lead to the conclusion that these claims are most likely true, and that the refusal to publish the footage is an attempt to bury the actual truth of the events.
At the same time, large portions of the Israeli population were protesting for the release of Elor Azraya, celebrating him as a hero who did not do anything wrong or even committ a crime. Instead, participants were seen with banners calling to ‘Kill Them All’ – openly demanding the ethnic cleansing of all Palestinians. For the Jewish festivities of Pessach, he was then released home ‘to celebrate the holiday with his family, and received in his hometown as a hero.
Today, large groups of settlers were seen protesting outside the courthouse in Tel Aviv, and, according to Human Rights Defenders, some from the illegal settlements in al-Khalil.
In a society where the execution of a defenseless, injured and incapacitated person who, without any possibility, could pose a threat to anyone, is acceptable – as shown by the demonstrations in support for Elor Azraya, and the simple fact that he is not charged with murder but merely manslaughter – fails to create a public outcry, it remains to be seen, whether or not there will be any justice at all for this cold blooded act.
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