Ripping up the Rulebook: Israel's Unlawful Killings

Michaela Whitton
December 4, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) United Kingdom — While people are focused on the atrocities carried out by Da’esh and/or their own governments in Syria and Iraq, it’s been nearly impossible to keep track of the number of Palestinians killed by Israel’s unwritten shoot-to-kill policy since October.

The full-fledged violence in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza has persisted since September with violence from both sides and Israeli forces recklessly flouting international standards.

The most recent report by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) reveals the names, ages, and circumstances of deaths of 100 Palestinian victims who were killed by the Israeli military between October and December.

According to PCHR, the majority were under 20 years of age and died as a result of several bullet wounds to the body. The oldest victim was 72 and the youngest, 3, and included a mother and her unborn child killed by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza. Some of the Palestinians had carried out violent attacks on Israelis, while the majority were shot while participating in demonstrations or for throwing stones.

Not included in the figures are the four Palestinians who were shot dead on Thursday. Taher Faisal Fannoun, 17, and Mustafa Fadel Fannoun, 15 were killed by Israeli forces in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron, where the Israeli military claim that the boys attempted to attack a soldier with knives.

On Thursday evening, Palestinian security officer and married father of four, Mazin Hasan Ureiba, was shot dead after he allegedly opened fire on Israeli soldiers. Also on Thursday, Israeli troops shot another Palestinian, who had reportedly tried to stab a policeman at Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem.

Respected Israeli journalist Amira Hass recently told the story of a former Japanese policeman who was visiting Israel. “I don’t understand,” he said. “In our country, if someone stabs a policeman, we grab him by the hand and arrest him. We don’t kill him. Why is it different in Israel?”

Although intentional lethal force should only be used when absolutely necessary to protect life, unlawful killings of Palestinians by Israeli forces are becoming the norm rather than the exception. After a research trip to the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Amnesty International recently condemned Israel’s unlawful killing of Palestinians — accusing the Israeli military of using intentional lethal force without justification.

“There is mounting evidence that, as tensions have risen dramatically, in some cases Israeli forces appear to have ripped up the rulebook and resorted to extreme and unlawful measures. They seem increasingly prone to using lethal force against anyone they perceive as posing a threat, without ensuring that the threat is real.”- Philip Luther, Director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme.

In her article, “Does the Israeli Army Plant Knives on Palestinians?,” Amira Hass poses that question while acknowledging the concept sounds far-fetched to Israelis, who find it hard to believe that their soldiers and commanders could lie.

However, a video emerged earlier this week that fueled the widespread suspicion that many alleged stabbing attempts, which have resulted in Palestinians being killed, have involved the planting of evidence.

Circulated widely on social media, the video appears to show an Israeli soldier dropping a knife on the ground before forcing a terrified Palestinian girl to pick it up. The original video is here with a slower-motion version here, so you can judge for yourselves.

This article (Ripping up the Rulebook: Israel’s Unlawful Killings) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Michaela Whitton and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email