Israeli colonel Israel Shomer (file photo)
An Israeli colonel has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing after he shot to death a Palestinian teenager last summer.
Colonel Israel Shomer fatally shot Mohammad Kasba, in July 3, 2015 in Ramallah, but the Israeli army claimed at the time that the colonel opened fire on Kasba “in response to the imminent danger” he was facing from the teen.
The army said that the teen had thrown a rock through the windshield of the colonel’s vehicle; in response the officer “exited his vehicle and fired into the air.”
“However, due to the reality of the operational situation, the shots resulted in the death of the assailant,” said the army.
“The military advocate general concluded that the shooting of the perpetrator was not criminal and the event does not justify taking legal action against the officer,” it added.
A video released by the B’Tselem human rights group, however, shows several shots being fired at the Palestinian teen as he seems to be running away.
The rights group denounced the decision to clear off the colonel, calling it “an integral part of the whitewash mechanism which is Israel’s military investigative system.”
It said the “assertion that the firing was legal, since the officer claimed that he aimed at the youth’s legs but missed, clearly indicates the investigative system’s willingness to ignore the law and the open-fire regulations.”
The occupied territories have been the scene of heightened tensions since August 2015, when Israel imposed restrictions on the entry of Palestinian worshipers into the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in East al-Quds.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam after Masjid al-Haram in Mecca and Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina.
At least 208 Palestinians, including children and women, have lost their lives at the hands of Israeli forces since the beginning of last October.