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Palestinians seek UN investigation after Hebron 'execution'

March 28, 2016 7:41 P.M. (Updated: April 14, 2016 6:00 P.M.)
Israeli soldiers stand guard near the site where a Palestinian attempted to stab a soldier before being shot dead in Hebron last October. (AFP/Hazem Bader, File)
By: Killian Redden

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian leadership on Monday requested that the UN open an investigation into Israeli "extrajudicial executions," after a soldier's gruesome killing of a wounded Palestinian was captured on camera in Hebron last week.

PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat said in a statement that he made the request during a meeting with UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov.

He said that while Israel had announced its own investigation into the "brutal execution" of Abd al-Fattah al-Sharif in Hebron on Thursday, "historic facts" cast doubt on Israeli investigations, which he said had "yet to serve justice."

Erekat alleged that since the killing of 18-year-old Hadeel Hashlamon in Hebron last September, there had been "207 cases of Israeli extrajudicial killings of Palestinians."

The number appeared to refer to the total number of Palestinians killed since a wave of unrest swept the occupied Palestinian territory some six months ago.

While several dozen Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces, the majority were shot dead after Israel alleges they attempted to attack Israelis, with nearly 30 Israelis killed in the same period.

However, Palestinians and rights groups have disputed Israel's version of events in many of these deadly encounters.

In a number of cases, they have argued the Palestinians were not attempting to carry out attacks at all, while in others, they have condemned Israeli forces for their excessive use of force where there was no imminent danger, in killings they say amount to "extrajudicial executions."

The Hebron video footage released last week quickly sparked international outcry. Al-Sharif was one of two Palestinians gunned down after allegedly stabbing and wounding an Israeli soldier.

While the other Palestinian was killed immediately, al-Sharif lay on the ground severely wounded. The video, captured by a staff worker with Israeli rights group B'Tselem, caught the moment an Israeli soldier stepped forward and shot him through the head.

"These executions are not isolated events and Israel must be held accountable for committing these crimes," Erekat said.

During his meeting with Mladenov, the PLO official also drew attention to Israel's "collective punishment" of Palestinians, including the withholding of Palestinian attackers' bodies, home demolitions, and the forced exile of Palestinians to Gaza, as well as settlement expansion.

In recent years, the Palestinian leadership has made a concerted effort to apply pressure on Israel through a variety of international bodies such as the UN and International Criminal Court.

Erekat pledged to supply evidence to the UN "in order to initiate immediate investigations into the current situation and bring justice to the people of Palestine."
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