Israeli Officer Who Killed Stone-throwing Palestinian Teen Tapped for Major Promotion

Col. Yisrael Shomer, who in 2015 shot dead a 17-year-old who threw a rock at his car, to command Nahal Brigade

File photo: Col. Yisrael Shomer.
Reuven Castro/ Walla

Col. Yisrael Shomer, who was filmed shooting dead a fleeing Palestinian teen, will be taking command of the Nahal Brigade, the Israel Defense Forces announced Monday, as part of a series of personnel promotions.

Shomer, former commander of the Binyamin Brigade, was filmed in July 3, 2015 shooting a Palestinian, Muhammad ali-Kosba, 17, after the teenager threw a rock at Shomer's vehicle near the West Bank village of A-Ram.

To really understand Israel and the Palestinians - subscribe to Haaretz

A criminal investigation of the case found that Kosba, a resident of the Qalandiyah refugee camp north of Jerusalem, threw the rock at the jeep in which Shomer had been traveling, shattering the windshield. Shomer jumped out and operated according to the procedure for arresting a suspect – which, according to the Military Police, included firing a warning shot into the air followed by two bullets aimed at the teen's legs.

However, because Shomer himself had been in motion, his aim was inaccurate and he hit Kosba’s torso, according to the investigation.

Investigator Iyad Hadad of the B’Tselem human rights organization photographed Kosba’s body after his death, reporting that there had actually been three bullet wounds – one in the face and two in the back.

Two years ago, the IDF's chief military prosecutor, Brig. Gen. Sharon Afek, closed the case against Shomer, ruling that the shooting had been justified because the officer had operated according to the proper procedure for arresting suspects. Afek said the fact that Shomer fired while in motion, and inaccurately, was a professional mistake, but that it occurred under operational circumstances.

In 2017, Kosba’s father, Ali, appealed the decision not to pursue charges against Shomer. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel submitted the appeal to Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit.

Other promotions announced Monday by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot included Col. Yuval Gez, as commander of the Paratroops Brigade, and Col. Yitzhak Cohen, as commander of the Givati Brigade.