New Footage Strengthens Palestinian Claims That Israeli Soldiers Killed Palestinian Who Wasn't Protesting

Videos published by B'Tselem show Mohammad Khossam Khabali walking away from soldiers, assisted by a cane, before falling to the ground ■ IDF claims soldiers opened fire to quell riot

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Yotam Berger
Yotam Berger

New videos published on Tuesday by Israeli human rights NGO B'Tselem strengthen Palestinian claims that Mohammad Khossam Khabali, who was shot to death in Tulkarm last week, was fired at despite the fact that he did not attend a protest or a riot in the area. 

The Israeli military claimed that the 23-year-old Khabali was shot after dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks towards Israeli troops in Tul Karm.

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Photo of 23-year-old Mohammad Khossam Khabali who was killed in the West Bank December 4, 2018.Credit: No credit

Earlier this week, the Israel Defense Forces launched an investigation into the incident. 

B'Tselem published footage from four security cameras that documented the incident. The videos – which were shot from different angles – show several Palestinians crowding on the side of a road as Israeli soldiers advance towards them. 

Israeli soldiers fatally shoot Mohammad Khossam Khabali, Tul Karm, December 4, 2018.Credit: Haaretz

The footage doesn't show any riots or demonstrations whatsoever. It only displays several Palestinians standing on the sidewalk, and none attempt any violent act at any point. 

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The video then shows Khabali walking along the road while using a cane. He is seen walking away from the soldiers, and then, as documented in a different video, falling to the ground with his back to the soldiers. 

After Khabali died, the Israeli military stated that a riot in Tul Karm prompted soldiers to use riot dispersal means and then live fire, despite the fact that the aforementioned video, which was published immediately after the incident took place, showed that Khabali was shot in the back of his head as he was walking in the opposite direction.

Responding to an Haaretz query regarding the incident, the Israeli army explained that "during an operational activity of Israeli soldiers in Tul Karm a violent riot erupted and dozens of Palestinians hurled rocks towards the fighters. In response, the soldiers used riot dispersal means and live fire. It has been reported that one Palestinian was killed and another injured [in this incident]. When the army finishes investigating the incident, the conclusions of the probe will be examined by the military prosecutor. The incident is also being probed at the command level." 

Khabali, who was a resident of the refugee camp in Tul Karm, had suffered from phycial and cognitive disablities, his acquaintances said. He was known in the refugee camp as an individual who often sought simple, odd jobs to earn a living. 

According to other testimonies, after the shooting Khabali's friends were afraid to approach him. In one of the videos people can be heard shouting at a young man who was near him and who pulled him into a narrow alleyway nearby. From there a vehicle took Khabali to an ambulance, which transferred him to a hospital. 

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called the incident a part of the ongoing executions of young Palestinians by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry also called on the International Criminal Court to investigate the circumstances of Khabali's death. 

Khabali's family members, however, expressed doubt that an Israeli investigation would lead to those in charge of his death being brought to justice.  

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