U.S., U.N. call for ‘transparent’ probe of fatal Nakba Day shooting

JERUSALEM (JTA) — The U.S. State Department and the United Nations Security Council called on the Israeli government to launch an investigation into the killing of two Palestinian teens by Israeli soldiers.

On Tuesday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called for the probe of the May 15 incident at a Nakba Day rally in the West Bank.

The U.S. call, followed by the Security Council, came after B’tselem, an organization that monitors human rights in the West Bank, released video footage on Tuesday that it said showed the soldiers using live fire. Other footage indicated that the teens — Muhammad Abu Thahr, 15, and Nadim Nuwara, 17 — were unarmed when they were shot.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces said the soldiers did not use live fire at the rally on a day known in Arabic as “the catastrophe,” when Palestinians lament the creation of the State of Israel and the ensuing displacement of Palestinians.

“We look to the government of Israel to conduct a prompt and transparent investigation to determine the facts surrounding this incident, including whether or not the use of force was proportional to the threat posed by the demonstrators,” Psaki said, according to the Times of Israel. “We are encouraging the government of Israel to conduct their own investigation.”

The IDF is still investigating the incident, but preliminary findings cleared the soldiers of wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a statement that the soldiers acted appropriately, as they “were in a situation where their lives were in danger.”

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