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Israeli rights group urges Netanyahu to stop extrajudicial killings of Palestinians

B’Tselem's executive director also accused the prime minister of a 'protracted silence' towards the deaths of Palestinians
Around half of the Palestinians killed have been alleged attackers, while dozens of other people have been killed killed Israeli security forces (AFP)

The Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem urged Israeli Prime Minister Bejamin Netanyahu to halt the use of lethal measures against people who no longer pose a threat after being subdued.

In a letter written by executive director Hagai El-Had, he claimed that the government “permits – and encourages – the transformation of police officers, and even of armed civilians, into judges and executioners”.

He highlighted the case of Nurhan Awad, a 14-year-old Palestinian who was shot and killed by an Israeli police officer after “she lay injured and immobile on the ground”.

Her cousin, 16-year-old Hadeel Wajih Awad, was shot dead after stabbing a 70-year-old Palestinian in the back with scissors in Jerusalem - in what is assumed to have been a case of mistaken identity, as Palestinians have targeted Israelis in a wave of knife attacks in recent weeks.

CCTV footage posted to social media on Monday showed two unidentified Israeli men shooting two female Palestinian teenagers while they lay injured on the ground.

El-Had added: "The death penalty for murder was abolished in Israeli criminal law in 1954, over 60 years ago,” making extrajudicial murders illegal under Israeli law. He even went as far as to accuse Netanyahu for “protracted silence” at the deaths.

Around half of the Palestinians killed have been alleged attackers, while dozens of other people have also been killed during clashes with the Israeli army.

US Secretary of State John Kerry met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday and expressed his strong support for Israel in the face of Palestinian attacks.

“Today I express my complete condemnation for any act of terror that takes innocent lives,” Kerry said.

“Clearly no people anywhere should live with daily violence, with attacks in the streets, with knives, with scissors, cars,” he added.

Kerry’s visit was aimed at deescalating the violence, but there is little support from either the Palestinian or Israeli side to resume negotiations, which broke down more than 18 months ago.

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