The Truth About the Nakba Day Shooting Is Finally Coming Out

Some six months after the shooting death of a Palestinian teen, there is a chance that the border policeman accused of this terrible crime will face justice.

Haaretz Editorial
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A Palestinian student holds a banner with a picture of slain youth Nadim Nuwara while taking part in a protest demanding trial for the border police officer who allegedly shot him, Nov. 20, 2014.
A Palestinian student holds a banner with a picture of slain youth Nadim Nuwara while taking part in a protest demanding trial for the border police officer who allegedly shot him, Nov. 20, 2014.Credit: AP
Haaretz Editorial

The Jerusalem District Prosecutor’s Office on Sunday charged a Border Police officer, whose name is under a gag order, with manslaughter in the shooting death of Palestinian teen Nadim Nuwara during a Nakba Day demonstration in the West Bank village of Beitunia on May 15. Some six months after the incident, there is a chance that the person accused of this terrible crime will face justice.

The prosecution of a member of the security forces for killing a Palestinian protester is an unusual occurrence, even though the use of live fire against Palestinian demonstrators has become almost routine in recent months. In this case too, the defense establishment initially responded to the suspicions that were raised immediately after Nuwara’s death with lies and cover-up attempts. The Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police were quick to claim that no live bullets had been fired in the incident, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon hurried to call the demonstration that day “a violent incident in which incendiary devices and stones were thrown at Border Policemen who felt their lives were in danger and acted accordingly. I know how these videos are edited.”

It now seems that the Palestinian eyewitnesses and the videos published after the incident were actually telling the truth, and it was the defense establishment that tried to obscure things. The police crime scene investigation unit determined that the teen was killed by a live bullet that was fired from the officer’s gun. A rare case of extensive evidence at the scene allowed the truth to come out this time. We may assume that in other recent cases, in which soldiers and police officers fired on demonstrators in the occupied territories, live fire was also used and no one was brought to justice.

It must now be hoped that the court will prosecute to the full extent of the law the person who is accused of swapping out the plastic-tipped bullets in his rifle for a magazine with live bullets and shooting in the chest a teenager who was standing at a great distance from him and who posed no danger to him. The prosecution of a Border Police officer on a charge as serious as manslaughter must also be a warning to the heads of the defense establishment, including the defense minister himself. They will not be so quick in the future to cover up investigations, to scoff at the evidence and to exonerate, without reason, those who are so terribly trigger-happy and who do not hesitate to lie during investigations whose importance and credibility the IDF boasts.

Precisely those who are concerned about the image of the IDF, the Border Police and the other security forces should be pleased by the prosecution of the shooter and by the deterrence it will create in the future, even in incidents that do not take place in front of the camera.

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