A Palestinian father-of-two killed by Israeli soldiers on August 26 was unarmed, posed no threat, and was shot in the back as he was moving away, according to an investigation by Israeli NGO B’Tselem.
Iyad Hamed, 37, was killed next to a military observation tower, as he walked from Silwad to the neighbouring village of Yabrud, in the Ramallah district.
As B’Tselem relates, the Israeli military changed their story on a number of occasions following the fatal shooting.
In the first of several versions reported by the media, the military initially claimed that Hamed had fire shots at the tower. This was later replaced by the claim that he threw a Molotov cocktail. Eventually, the military alleged that Hamed had run toward them while they were on patrol near the tower, and that they performed the suspect apprehension procedure, which included firing into the air.
Eyewitnesses, however, told B’Tselem how Hamed was shot as he ran away from the tower, a version of events supported by the post-mortem, which showed a single, live bullet had hit Hamed in the middle of his back.
After the shooting, Israeli occupation forces “blocked off access to Palestinians”, and also prevented Red Crescent ambulance staff from approaching Hamed.
B’Tselem concludes that “the soldiers shot Hamed in the back while he was moving away from them, posing no danger to them whatsoever.” The NGO also noted that the military’s final version of events, that soldiers fired in the air as a warning, is also “inconsistent with the facts.”
Despite the fact that “the military shot and killed an innocent passerby who was not a danger to anyone”, B’Tselem stated that “past experience shows that the military law enforcement system is concerned primarily with whitewashing investigations, rather than with…ensuring accountability.”
It is thus “highly unlikely that those responsible for killing Hamed will be held to account.”