Israel Defense Forces soldiers aim their rifles as they deploy in Huwara in the illegally occupied West Bank following the fatal shooting of 22-year-old Palestinian man Ammar Mufleh on December 2, 2022. (Photo: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via Getty Images)

UN, EU Officials Demand Probe Over Extrajudicial Killings of Palestinians

"In the last 72 hours alone 10 Palestinians were killed by ISF in what appears to be an excessive use of lethal force," the European Union Delegation to the Palestinians noted after the killing of 22-year-old Ammar Mufleh by Israeli security forces.

United Nations and European Union officials in recent days condemned and called for an investigation into the extrajudicial killing of Palestinians by Israeli forces in the illegally occupied West Bank, including the shooting death of a 22-year-old last week.

"Such incidents must be fully and promptly investigated, and those responsible held accountable."

Israeli occupation forces shot and killed Ammar Mufleh Friday in Hawara near Nablus. According to Israeli officials, Mufleh attempted to enter the vehicle of a Jewish couple and was shot and wounded by the driver, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officer. The 22-year-old then allegedly attacked an Israeli border policeman with a knife before another officer attempted to arrest him. Photos shared by Israeli police show an officer with a deep, bloody wound just above his right eye, as well as a kitchen knife allegedly used by Mufleh to attack him.

Haaretzreports that an eyewitness at the scene contradicted the Border Police's version of events, saying that an armed Israeli settler passerby provoked several people who were standing near a restaurant eating lunch when an altercation broke out between the settler and Mufleh.

Video footage shows a border patrol officer grabbing Mufleh--who does not appear to be armed--in a chokehold before the Palestinian breaks free and grabs for a rifle around the officer's neck. During the scuffle for the rifle, the weapon gets dropped on the ground, well out of anyone's reach. The officer, who had drawn his pistol during the fight for the rifle, then immediately fires four shots at Mufleh, who falls to the pavement.

Even though Mufleh was still alive, Israeli forces prevented any Palestinians from attempting to save his life, according to video footage and eyewitnesses. Israeli soldiers then seized Mufleh's body--a tactic employed by both Israeli forces and Palestinian resistance fighters to secure bargaining chips.

Tor Wennesland, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, said on Twitter that he was "horrified by today's killing of a Palestinian man... during a scuffle with an Israeli soldier near Huwarra in the [occupied] West Bank."

"My heartfelt condolences to his bereaved family," Wennesland added. "Such incidents must be fully and promptly investigated, and those responsible held accountable."

The European Union Delegation to the Palestinians tweeted in the wake of the killing that it was "gravely concerned about the increasing level of violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem."

"In the last 72 hours alone 10 Palestinians were killed by ISF in what appears to be an excessive use of lethal force," the delegation added, referring to Israeli security forces.

The agency further noted that "2022 is the deadliest year since 2006, with 140 Palestinians killed. According to international law, use of lethal force is strictly limited to situations in which there exists a serious and imminent threat to life and limb. Civilian casualties must be investigated and accountability ensured."

Other advocates, including the U.S.-based Jewish Voice for Peace, count more than 200 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces this year.

Israeli officials, meanwhile, lauded Mufleh's killer, with Itamar Ben-Gvir, the incoming far-right national security minister, praising a job "well done."

In a separate case, over the weekend the BBC published video footage that contradicts Israeli claims that 21-year-old Raed al-Naasan, one of five Palestinians shot dead by occupation forces on November 29, was killed while throwing a Molotov cocktail. The footage shows that al-Naasan was throwing rocks before retreating as shots rang out.

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