A Palestinian carpenter whose security cameras recorded the fatal shooting of two Palestinian teenagers at a protest in the West Bank last month told Human Rights Watch that he was threatened by Israeli soldiers this week during an hourlong interrogation.
The carpenter, Fakher Zayed, also witnessed the shooting of Nadeem Siam Nawara, 17, and Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh Salameh, 16, and his testimony was included in a video report on the episode produced by the rights group Defense for Children International-Palestine.
In response to claims from Israeli officials, analysts and bloggers that the video surveillance footage was fake, B’Tselem, an Israeli group that monitors human rights in the occupied territories, posted hours of the raw video online, showing first Nadeem and then Mohammad collapsing to the ground after being shot, and there was no sign that any of it had been altered.
Mr. Zayed also said that last month, after CNN broadcast additional footage of the shootings that corroborated some of the images from his surveillance cameras, Israeli soldiers came to his home and confiscated his recording equipment.
Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch concluded that a review of video, photographs, witness testimony and medical reports by doctors who tried to save the two teenagers suggested that their killings could constitute a war crime. “Israel has a responsibility to prosecute the forces who targeted these teens, and also those responsible for assigning the use of live ammunition to police a demonstration,” Sarah Leah Whitson, the group’s director for the Middle East and North Africa said.
That sentiment was echoed on Thursday by Brad Parker, an international advocacy officer and lawyer at the Defense for Children group, which joined Human Rights Watch in deploring the apparent harassment of Mr. Zayed. “Israeli forces are threatening to treat Palestinians like criminals because they witnessed or recorded what appear to be war crimes committed by the Israeli military,” he said. “Instead of harassment and threats Israeli forces should focus on bringing to justice those responsible for killing two boys on May 15.”