The United States urged restraint on Tuesday as anger flared over the deaths of two Palestinian teenagers – allegedly by the IDF – during the May 15 Nakba Day riots by Ofer Prison near Ramallah.
The Palestinian Authority on Tuesday called for an international commission of inquiry into their deaths and denounced the incident as a war crime. It spoke after video footage showed that the teens were not engaged in violence at the time of their death.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said, however, that they died during a riot in which soldiers and Border Police were in danger.
“Because it was a life-threatening situation, police acted accordingly,” Ya’alon said.
The military prosecution last week ordered Military Police to launch a limited investigation into the incident.
US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said America was closely following the incident and sought additional information.
The US, she said, looked to Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation.
“We express our condolences to the families of the deceased and urge all parties to express restraint,” Psaki told reporters in Washington.
The PA, the US and Ya’alon spoke after two nongovernmental groups published video footage from two commercial security cameras that showed that Mohammad Odeh Abu Daher and Nadine Siam Nawasreh, both 17, were killed during brief moments of calm in an otherwise violent riot.
On Thursday afternoon, Palestinian protesters threw stones, fire bombs and rolled burning tires at soldiers and Border Police stationed at a distance. Israeli security forces responded with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Video and photos from the riots showed rising tear gas and masked teens using slings to hurl stones. But the teens were not killed while engaged in such activity.
The absence of visible violence at the time when the two 17-yearolds were killed was first raised in the morning by the Palestinian branch of Defense for Children International. But the more telling videos were released later in the day by the NGO B’Tselem – The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
The first video was shot around 1:45 p.m. with footage from two separate cameras, so that one can see a fair distance down the length of the street from Ofer Prison down to the gas station, where such demonstrations typically take place.
Comment: This is an ongoing investigation-Pallywood number...? The damage has been done, although the evidence is shabby at best-in the realm of public opinion the IDF is guilt-the problem with this condemnation is the evidence is lacking.