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Israeli forces shoot dead Palestinian, abducting body with bulldozer

By E. Lins - February 26, 2020
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [war crimes]

Shocking video footage of Israeli military forces violently scooping up and seizing the corpse of a Palestinian shot dead along the Gaza-Israeli fence on 23 February has gone viral, enraging Palestinians and the international community. 

A group of unarmed Palestinians tried to retrieve the lifeless body of 27-year-old Mohammad al-Naem before being chased away by gunfire and Israeli machinery, including a tank positioned nearby to protect the bulldozer.


The video shows the bulldozer, after several attempts, lifting al-Naem by his clothes. His limp body dangles from the blade of the bulldozer as he is taken beyond the fence to prevent attempts to recover it.

According to the Gaza Healthy Ministry, two other civilians were wounded by gunfire. Footage shows a man trying to flee the scene after being shot in the leg.

Al-Naem was a member of the Gaza-based Al-Quds Brigade, Wafa News Agency reported. According to Israeli forces, the 27-year-old Palestinian was allegedly suspected of placing an explosive near the border fence.

The Israeli government is refusing to release the body of al-Naem as part of their policy which states they may withhold the remains of slain Palestinians to be used as future bargaining chips. This policy has been deemed collective punishment as Israeli forces deny Palestinians the right to a dignified funeral.

Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett took to Twitter to express his resolute support for the actions of Israeli forces. Bennett wrote: “This is how it should be done, and this is how it will be done”. He also mentioned that Hamas has retained the bodies of two Israeli soldiers since 2014.

The Fatah movement urgently called on the international community to provide immediate international protection for the Palestinian people, stating the incident shows the “barbaric and criminal mentality that governs the behaviour of political and military leaders of the occupation”.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesperson, stated that the deliberate killing of an unarmed young man on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip and the abuse of his body constitute a heinous crime added to a long list of crimes against the Palestinian people.

Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, has stepped in and demanded a criminal investigation against the murder of al-Naem. In a letter to the Israeli Chief Military Advocate General Sharon Afek, Adalah argued that the actions “depicted in the video were viewed as war crimes and blatant violations of international criminal law, and international human rights and humanitarian law.”

According to AFP toll, at least 348 Palestinians have been killed in the weekly Great March of Return since the beginning of protests in March 2018, either by gunfire, tank fire or airstrikes.

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