Israel’s military admits fault in shooting death of Palestinian child
June 15, 2023

Israel’s military has officially acknowledged that it mistakenly shot and killed a Palestinian toddler in the occupied West Bank earlier this month. Following an initial investigation, Israel’s military announced the closure of the case, prompting further scrutiny from human rights groups and the grieving family.

The death of 2-year-old Mohammed al-Tamimi near the village of Nebi Saleh evoked profound grief and anger within the Palestinian community. The Israeli military’s acknowledgment of the mistake comes as a small step toward addressing the loss of innocent lives and the broader issue of impunity surrounding such incidents.

The incident has raised significant concerns regarding the accountability and transparency of investigations into civilian casualties in the region.

As part of the initial investigation, Israel’s military stated that it would reprimand one of the officers involved in the shooting. However, it remains unclear whether a criminal investigation will be initiated to delve deeper into the circumstances surrounding the child’s death.

The decision to close the case without further legal proceedings has drawn criticism from rights groups who argue that the Israeli military often falls short in investigating and holding soldiers accountable for the killing of Palestinians.

Haitham al-Tamimi, the grief-stricken father of the slain toddler, expressed deep disappointment with the investigation, referring to it as a “cover-up” that adds insult to injury. He emphasized the need for justice and a thorough examination of the incident, questioning how such a tragic mistake could occur, robbing him of the chance to witness his son grow into adulthood.

Haitham revealed that his eldest son, 7-year-old Osama, is plagued by nightmares about his younger brother’s killing nearly every night, further underscoring the profound and lasting impact of such tragic incidents on the affected families.

The Israeli military provided its account of the events leading to the toddler’s death, describing a scene of confusion following a suspected Palestinian shooting attack near a Jewish settlement.

The military stated that an officer fired into the air, contravening army orders, leading to further confusion. Subsequently, a soldier mistakenly identified the al-Tamimi family’s car as the source of the gunfire and opened fire, tragically claiming Mohammed’s life.

Major General Yehuda Fox, the commander responsible for overseeing the West Bank region, expressed his condolences for the harm caused to civilians, including the death of the Palestinian toddler. He acknowledged the need for ongoing learning and improvement within the Israeli military to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.

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