The following letter was sent by us right now to Ha'aretz
In an internet update of Haaretz English of today is written: "Another Palestinian, a wanted Hamas militant, was killed in the village of Salem, east of Nablus, while trying to flee IDF troops. "
It appears in the Amos Harel article. We would like to draw your attention to the version of Al-Haq.
" At approximately 2:00 am on August 2nd Israeli soldiers shot and killed Amjad Abdel Hadi Jebour in front of his family after detaining him in the village of Salem, which is located east of Nablus. "
The old and respectable Palestinian Human Rights organization Al-Haq sent out the following press release:
Al-Haq Condemns the Execution by Israeli Soldiers of Amjad Jebour At approximately 2:00 am on August 2nd Israeli soldiers shot and killed Amjad Abdel Hadi Jebour in front of his family after detaining him in the village of Salem, which is located east of Nablus. Amjad was 31 years old, married and the father of five children. Al-Haq’s fieldworker in Nablus gathered the following information from witnesses to the killing.
According to Al-Haq’s information, Israeli forces entered into the village of Salem during the early morning hours of August 2nd with the aim of arresting Palestinians Israel accuses of being involved in “militant activities”. Around 2:00 am soldiers knocked on the door of Mohammad , a neighbor of Amjad Jebour. When Mohammad answered his door he found his house surrounded by Israeli soldiers. He was called out of the house, physically searched, and then questioned by an Israeli officer. The officer told Mohammad that his name was Captain Guy, that he was an officer with Shabak, the Israeli security services, who had previously been responsible for the area around Salem, and that he was returning to once again take control of the area.
He then asked Mohammad questions about the people who live in the area around his home. When Mohammad mentioned Amjad Jebour’s name, Captain Guy commented that this was the first night in a year that Amjad had been in his home. He then forced Mohammad to come with him to Amjad’s home.
When they arrived at Amjad’s home, Mohammad reported that soldiers were already surrounding the home. Mohammad was made to knock on Amjad’s door to tell him to come outside to the soldiers. Amjad came into the doorway of his house at which point a bright light was shone upon him and he was forced to take off his clothes to prove that he was not carrying a weapon or explosives. After this examination was finished he was allowed to put his clothes back on and was ordered to reenter the house to gather his ID card. When he returned outside with his ID he was ordered to also retrieve his mobile phone and wallet. He called inside to his wife for these items, and she brought them to him. After he had turned over his wallet, ID and phone to the soldiers both Mohammad and Amjad’s wife reported that Amjad’s hands were bound behind his back and he was then brought to stand next to an army jeep located approximately ten meters from the home. The military spotlight and streetlights in the area made it possible to see clearly what happened next.
According to Mohammad, a soldier standing approximately four meters to the left of Amjad fired a single shot into Amjad’s neck as he stood next to the jeep. After the shot was fired several of the soldiers began to shout at each other in Hebrew. Mohammad, who speaks Hebrew, reported that one of the soldiers yelled, “I told you to injure him, not to kill him.” After Amjad was shot, he took several steps and then collapsed, after which several soldiers dragged his body approximately 30 meters down the road. The soldiers stayed around Amjad’s body for another 15 minutes until it was confirmed that he was dead. They then left the village. Mohammad’s testimony regarding the killing of Amjad Jebour was corroborated by Antar Hamdan, Amjad’s next door neighbor, who watched the killing from the window of his home.
Yesterday’s killing of Amjad Jebour qualifies as an extra judicial execution, and thereby as a willful killing, which is a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime. Any killing of a civilian that is intentional or is not justified by military necessity qualifies both as a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention under Article 147 and as a war crime.
The definition of the term “willful” found in the official Commentary to article 85 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions states that, “the accused must have acted consciously and with intent, i.e., with his mind on the act and its consequences and willing them…” The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia examined the issue of willful killing in depth in the Celebici Case. The court held that willful killing is equivalent to murder. However, there is a distinction between a “willful killing” and any other killing, which is found in the intent or mens rea of the person or persons who carried out the killing. The judges in the Celebici case ruled that for a killing to be deemed “willful” intent to kill must be proven. The court went on to rule that intent is present where there is demonstrated an intention on the part of the accused to kill, or inflict serious injury in reckless disregard of human life. A death that can be deemed the accidental consequence of another action cannot be deemed “willful”.
In the Celebici Case the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia also found that, “the offence of willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health constitutes an act or omission that is intentional, being an act which, judged objectively, is deliberate and not accidental, which causes serious mental or physical suffering or injury.” Willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health is also a Grave Breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention under Article 147 and qualifies as a war crime.
The statements made by Israeli soldiers and heard by the witnesses interviewed by Al-Haq indicate that the decision to shoot Amjad was premeditated. According to these statements there was intent to at least injure Amjad. The soldier who shot Amjad and those responsible for ordering Amjad shot clearly violated the prohibitions against willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health. In shooting Amjad the soldiers also showed a reckless disregard for his safety and, according to witnesses, had a stated intent to cause him grave injury. Because Amjad died as a result of the wounds willfully inflicted upon him, the shooting therefore also meets the threshold needed to qualify this case as a willful killing as defined in the Celebici Case. As such Israel must take action to hold those responsible for this crime accountable. If Israel fails to act, the international community should intervene to hold Israel accountable for its continued violations of Palestinians’ human rights.
In this light Al-Haq calls for the following.
1. Israel must investigate yesterday’s attack in Salem and must take action upon any findings of the said investigation to hold those responsible for violating international law accountable.