The family and witnesses of a slain 16-year-old Palestinian boy, Abdul Rahman Hassan Ahmad Hardan, assert that he was unarmed when he was killed during Israel’s military operation in Jenin. This claim emerges amid growing international concern over the rising death toll, with twelve Palestinians and one Israeli soldier confirmed dead during the two-day incursion.
by Ali Hassan
The tragic death of Abdul Rahman Hassan Ahmad Hardan, a 16-year-old Palestinian, during a military incursion in Jenin by Israeli forces, is being heavily disputed. Family members and witnesses insist that the teenager, featured in now-viral videos, was not armed at the moment of his death, contradicting Israel’s assertions that all Palestinians killed during the operation were combatants.
The assault in the occupied West Bank, which lasted two days, resulted in the death of twelve Palestinians, among them four teenagers, and one Israeli soldier. Israel justified the operation, stating it was to dismantle a “terrorist safe haven” in the Jenin refugee camp, amidst a year of increasing Palestinian attacks on Israelis and correspondingly lethal Israeli raids in the West Bank.
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson, Lt Col Richard Hecht, told the BBC that every person killed in the operation was “directly involved with terrorism.” The IDF has yet to provide concrete evidence to substantiate this claim, particularly regarding Abdul Rahman Hardan’s involvement at the time of his shooting.
Following Abdul Rahman’s death, Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group, claimed him as a member. However, his family disputes this assertion, and the burden of proof remains on the Israeli authorities to validate their actions under international law, which stipulates that lethal force against civilians can only be used in response to an “imminent threat of death or serious injury”.
The events leading to Abdul Rahman’s death on Tuesday unfolded amidst widespread conflict in the city. Videos of the incident, corroborated by family and witnesses, show the boy unarmed near al-Amal hospital, shortly before he is seen falling to the ground from a gunshot wound to the head.
Mr. Hassan Ahmad Hardan, the father of the slain teenager, maintains that his son was merely attempting to cross the street when he was fatally shot in the back of his head. He said his son was unarmed, with “no stone, no weapon, nothing.”
The IDF is still investigating the incident and has not yet confirmed whether the circulated video footage documents the fatal shooting of Abdul Rahman by its forces. A spokesperson for the IDF emphasized the complex nature of the combat zone, stating the IDF strives to avoid harming innocent individuals while precisely targeting terrorist organizations.
The Jenin incursion, considered the largest in the West Bank in twenty years, resulted in widespread destruction, caused by drone strikes and armoured diggers. The UN accused Israel of employing excessive force, while the Palestinian leadership labelled it a “war crime”. Israel claims the operation led to the seizure of hundreds of weapons and advanced explosives, arguing the refugee camp was being used as a refuge for armed groups.
Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed their concerns over the militarized environment in the refugee camp, criticizing militant groups for involving minors in armed resistance against Israel’s military occupation, now in its 57th year.
(Associated Medias) – All right reserved