Israeli army ‘provoked Palestinian teenager and then shot him’
A Palestinian schoolboy killed by Israeli gunfire near the West Bank separation barrier had been reacting to insults shouted by soldiers with loudhailers before he was shot, eyewitnesses have said.
The claim contradicts an account given by the Israeli army, which says 16-year-old Samir Awad was shot after cutting through a section of the security fence as he tried “infiltrate into Israel”.
The teenager died on Tuesday after being shot three times. He was hit from behind as he was running away from Israeli troops in the village of Boudrous, according to his family. Doctors at Ramallah Hospital, where he was pronounced dead, said he had suffered gunshot wounds to his neck, leg and torso.
An Israeli Defence Forces spokesman said the shooting happened after soldiers initiated “standard rules of engagement”, which include live fire, to respond to such incidents.
That was challenged on Wednesday by Samir Awad’s family, teachers and school friends, who said he had approached the fence only after being incited by Israeli troops, who had used loudspeakers to provoke pupils at Boudrous Secondary School, which sits 200 yards away, into a confrontation.
“They were shouting, ‘Come dogs, Come to the wall,” 10-year-old Khaled Shaheen told The Daily Telegraph. “They were also calling us sons-of-bitches and saying your mothers are dogs and adulteresses. They were shouting on the loudspeakers before Samir left his class.
“When he came out of class, he and four friends told us younger children to stay inside the schoolyard while they approached the soldiers at the fence.”
His description was confirmed by several older pupils at the school, who said the soldiers uttered other obscenities they were reluctant to repeat.
An Arab language teacher, Nader Shalash, 37, said shouted insults from the army patrols were a daily occurrence.
“They went to say to the pupils, ‘We are here. Come and get a bit of trouble’,” said Mr Shalash, who described the teenager as intelligent and a
good student. “Some of the soldiers are Druze and some are Jewish. They also play loud music. We built a wall and fence around the school and also erected three gates which we keep locked during school hours because we don’t want any provocations. However, they happen.”
Family and friends say Samir was running away from the security barrier after soldiers fired tear gas. As he tried to head towards the school, he was intercepted by two other soldiers who had been hiding in a trench dug by the Jordanian army during the 1967 Six-Day War.
While his friends managed to get away, Samir’s escape route was cut off, forcing him to run back towards the barrier. It was at that point he was shot, witnesses say.
The incident happened shortly before 10am on Tuesday just after the teenager had finished a midterm science exam.
The Israeli human rights group, B’tselem, say the Israeli soldiers called for an ambulance but apparently did not administer treatment. They left the scene when villagers, including Samir’s brother, Jibril, arrived and carried him away.
Last night the IDF said it could not comment on the allegations of incitement as an investigation was underway into the shooting which is beign carried out by the military police.
On Wednesday, as the Awad family observed three days of mourning, The Daily Telegraph witnessed further confrontations in the area between the school and the security barrier. Israeli soldiers fired rounds of tear gas after several Palestinian youths approached the barrier, which consists entirely of fencing in the region around Boudrous.
The village achieved fame after being the first West Bank village to organise regular protests against the barrier, eventually succeeding in getting its route changed. The Awad family say they lost five acres of land to the barrier’s construction and that four of Samir’s brothers have been wounded in clashes with Israeli soldiers.