UPDATE: Tuesday 23 March 2010 — Haaretz is reporting that “The Israel Defense Forces’ chief prosecutor on Tuesday ordered the army to open an internal investigation into the circumstances that led soldiers to open fire and kill two Palestinian youth in the West Bank over the weekend. Major Avihai Mandelblit’s issued his order to the IDF’s criminal investigation division a day after the Judea and Samaria division of the army announced that it planned to probe the incident. Military sources said the two Palestinians who were shot on Saturday in the village of Iraq Burin, near Nablus, were apparently killed by live Israel Defense Forces fire, contrary to the IDF’s initial claim that only rubber bullets were used. IDF doctors met with Nablus hospital doctors Sunday night to examine X-rays of one of the men killed in Iraq Burin, which the Palestinians said show that a live bullet had penetrated his head” … This Haaretz report is here. YNet adds that “[Military Judge Advocate General ] Brig.-Gen. Mandelblit ordered the investigation following discrepancies found in the accounts of the event, which was initially investigated by the Judea and Samaria Division. The JAG inquiry is meant to determine whether any of the troops lied during the initial investigation”… The YNet report is here .
YNet is reporting that “The IDF on Monday set up a committee of experts tasked with investigating the death of two Palestinian teenagers during riots that erupted near the West Bank city of Nablus on Saturday. The committee, consisting of military physicians and forensic experts who were appointed by the army, will be tasked with looking into the discrepancy between the two versions with the use of eyewitness accounts and evidence gathered at the scene … The YNet story says that “The experts will … also examine X-ray images of the Palestinians’ bodies provided by a hospital in Nablus and the testimonies of IDF soldiers”.
The YNet report added that “Earlier Monday it was reported that the IDF has launched an investigation into Sunday’s incident near the West Bank village of Awatra, in which two Palestinians carrying a pitchfork were killed by IDF soldiers. It was initially reported that the Palestinians had planned to attack soldiers with a pitchfork, but this version was later challenged after it was revealed that the pitchfork was apparently left on the ground beside them”… This YNet report of a deeper IDF investigation into the deaths of four Palestinian youths killed in the Nablus area within a 24-hour period is posted here.
In an earlier report on YNet, the same journalist, Hanan Greenberg, noted that “Many serious question marks are brought up by the IDF’s initial investigation into the functioning of the soldiers involved in Sunday’s incident next to Awatra in which two Palestinians carrying a pitchfork were killed by IDF soldiers. At the end of the debriefings on the incident and on the incident that took place on Saturday in which two other Palestinians were killed during a protest near Nablus, investigation material will be passed on to the military prosecutor, where it will be decided whether the military police will launch an investigation. Just 24 hours after the incident at Awarta, it is already clear to the IDF that the incident is not as clear cut as described by the soldiers, who said that the Palestinians made an attack and they returned fire … Investigation of the two incidents is still underway”. This earlier report can be viewed in full here.