(JTA) — Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon defended the Israeli soldiers who allegedly shot dead two Palestinians at a West Bank protest.
Yaalon in a statement Tuesday said the soldiers acted appropriately, as they “were in a situation where their lives were in danger.”
The incident took place May 15 at a Nakba Day rally at the Israeli army’s Ofer Prison near the Palestinian city of Ramallah. On Nakba Day, also known as “the catastrophe,” Palestinians lament the creation of the State of Israel and the ensuing displacement of Palestinians.
Earlier, Hanan Ashrawi of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s executive committee had accused Israel of the “deliberate execution” of the two Palestinians, aged 20 and 17, and an NGO released video footage indicating that they were unarmed when they were shot, the Times of Israel reported.
Yaalon said he had not yet viewed the video, “but I’ve seen lots of films that were edited [to distort what had happened]. This film I’ve not yet seen, but I know the system.”
The Israeli army said its soldiers used “only riot control techniques” and are investigating the incident.
The footage, allegedly showing the the deaths of Musaab Nuwarah, 20, and Mohammed Udeh, 17, during the demonstration, was released by Defense for Children International Palestine.
Roni Daniel, Israel Channel 2′s military correspondent, suggested that the film may have been staged and faked, noting that the first alleged victim put out his hands to break his fall, which did not appear consistent with being shot.
While Daniel did not question that two Palestinians were shot that day, he suggested the incidents on the footage had been staged or edited.