Israeli FM rejects "hypocritical" calls to investigate Palestinian teen killings
Published Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday rejected as "hypocritical" world criticism and demands for an investigation into the killings of two Palestinian teenagers by occupation forces last week.
"I reject any demand" for an international investigation, he told reporters on a tour of the illegal West Bank settlement of Ariel.
"Such an incident will be investigated regardless of any demand," he remarked, denouncing world criticism of the incident as "hypocrisy."
His remarks came a day after calls by Washington and a top UN official for an immediate investigation into the circumstances of the two killings after video footage emerged showing the unprovoked shootings.
The closed-circuit footage, released on Monday by the NGOs Defence For Children International and B'Tselem, appeared to show separate incidents in which two youngsters were shot as they walked down the same street near Ramallah as Palestinians marked the 66th anniversary of the Nakba.
Although protests were taking place in the area on that day, there is no visible evidence of clashes in the footage.
Watch the footage:
The Palestinian leadership accused Israel of their "deliberate execution."
But the Israeli army dismissed the footage as having been "edited," and said it was investigating the incident.
Late on Wednesday, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Washington expected the Israeli government "to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident."
And Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, called for an "independent and transparent" probe.
He said it was "of serious concern that initial information appears to indicate that the two Palestinians killed were both unarmed and appeared to pose no direct threat."
But Lieberman brushed off such calls.
"We don't need an American demand" to launch an investigation, he said.
"We will do it as part our commitment to the Israeli army's moral code."
Israel had claimed that its occupation forces fired rubber bullets try to put down the protest, and denies using live bullets.
The the youths, identified as 16-year-old Mohammed Odeh Abu al-Thaher and 17-year-old Nadim Siyam Nawara.
In a separate development, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Wednesday published figures showing "a sharp increase" in the number of Palestinian refugees killed and injured by Israeli forces since the beginning of 2013.
According to UNRWA, there has also been a big increase in the numbers of those injured by live ammunition in 2014, with 43 wounded this year compared with 10 in the same period in 2013.