19 Feb

Please join us in urging President Obama to ask the State Department to investigate these killings.


pal destr

Shuja’iyya, Gaza – A view of destruction in Shuja’iyya where hundreds of homes were destroyed in 2014 and more than 60 Palestinian civilians were killed. Despite well documented human rights violations in the neighborhood there has been no Israeli investigation or accountability for breaches of law. Photo: AFSC/Mike Merryman-Lotze

Dear The O’Leary,

On Nov. 13, 2015, 10 Palestinian youth were ambushed by a group of Israeli soldiers lying in wait near Al-Aq in the West Bank, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

One of the youth, Lafy Awad, was seized by the soldiers, and when he attempted to free himself, the soldiers “responded violently, kicking him and hitting him with their rifles.” The rest of the group began shouting and throwing stones at the soldiers. One soldier raised his weapon and fired in the air in an apparent attempt to disperse the group. As Lafy tried to escape, an Israeli soldier shot him in the back.

When the soldiers retreated, Lafy’s friends picked him up, carried him to safety, and attempted to drive him to the hospital in Ramallah. But at an Israeli military checkpoint, soldiers forced the car to turn around. Lafy was eventually transferred to an ambulance that took him to the hospital, but it was too late. Lafy died within five minutes of arriving at the hospital.

The killing of Lafy Awad is one of seven cases of possible extrajudicial killings recently submitted to the U.S. State Department by eleven faith-based organizations, including AFSC.

Please join us in urging President Obama to ask the State Department to investigate these killings.

These cases are all evidence-specific, well-documented instances of probable gross violations of human rights by Israel, the largest recipient of U.S. Foreign Military Financing. While each of the cases has been documented by reputable international and local human rights organizations, there is no evidence of credible Israeli investigations that meet the same due diligence standards. There is no accountability when Israeli soldiers violate the law.

In submitting these cases to the Department of State, AFSC and its partners are turning to the U.S. for accountability. We have called on the U.S. to investigate whether these cases constitute violations of the Leahy Law. And we have asked that the State Department investigate and identify the units involved in the killings. If a Leahy Law violation has occurred, the units responsible should not be eligible to receive U.S. security assistance as stipulated by the law.

The U.S. must stop treating Israel as an exception. Violations of human rights by Israel must be condemned, not supported, and laws in place to stop the violation of human rights must be enforced against Israel just as they are enforced against others.

Take action today, and tell President Obama to urge the State Department to investigate these killings and potential violations of human rights.

In Peace,

Mike Merryman-Lotze

Palestine-Israel Program Director

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