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Time Up for Israeli Killers?

As CCTV footage of two Palestinian teens killed by Israeli soldiers shows that they were indeed posing no threat, the UN demands a new probe into the case, while the case surrounding the death of American activist Rachel Corrie is being reopened.

The UN has called for a probe into the deaths of two Palestinian teenagers after new CCTV footage emerged backing claims they were "unlawfully killed." The latest video evidance strongly indicates that Nadeem Nawara, 17, and Muhammad Dahar, 16 were deliberately targetted by occupation forces as they peacefully demonstrated near Ofer prison in the West Bank on Nakba Day. Nakba Day is designed to mark the displacement that preceded and followed the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948.

CCTV footage shows that the two teenagers were between 200 and 250 metres from the soldiers who shot them – allegedly with live fire – and were not involved in throwing stones or violence at the time of their deaths.

On Tuesday, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, the assistant UN secretary general for political affairs, urged an “independent and transparent” probe into the circumstances surrounding the boys’ deaths. “It is of serious concern that initial information appears to indicate that the two Palestinians killed were both unarmed and appeared to pose no direct threat,” added Fernandez-Taranco.

The news comes as it emerged that Israeli military chiefs are facing a probe over the death of US Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie. The 23-year old was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer in Gaza in 2003. Since then her family has struggled tirelessly to secure justice for the International Solidarity Movement activist, despite an Israeli court ruling which exonerated the military occupation of all blame.

However, campaigners have now been given fresh hope after it emerged that her family will have their case reheard by three judges in Israel's supreme court in Jerusalem today (Wednesday). The Corrie family will ask Israel's highest court to overturn an earlier judgment, which ruled that the Israeli military was not negligently responsible for Corrie's death and had fully and also credibly investigated the circumstances of her death.

Israeli state lawyers claimed that by entering a conflict area and impeding the work of the bulldozers, Corrie was responsible for her own death. Rachel's father, Craig believes that the appeal may spell a landmark ruling for activists and civilians in the region.

He said: "We are appealing on several grounds. The first is that the lower court was unwilling to apply international humanitarian law [regarding the protection of civilians]. It also applied a very narrow interpretation of the idea of negligence." We have been very careful over the years not to use the word murder as some people did," said Cindy Corrie, Rachel's mother. "And yet there in the final paragraph of the state's submission we are being attacked and accused of being untruthful."

"During the past nine years, we have sought accountability in the Israeli courts for Rachel's killing but were handed a verdict that showed blind indifference to the rights of the victim and little interest in seeking truth and justice," she continues. "The case is about our own deep and personal loss, but it has become about more than that, about impunity and the protection of civilians."

The family's submission to the court claims that the judge in the original case ignored contradictory evidence by key state witnesses, adding: "Regretfully, when reading the ruling, one gets the impression that the court of first instance set for itself the final goal of rejecting the lawsuit."


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