Jerusalem District's state attorney filed an indictment against the Border Guard officer who shot a Palestinian to death in May 2014 during Nakba Day clashes in Beitunia.
The indictment charges the officer with manslaughter, not with murder – as previously suspected - drawing criticism from the boy's father, who said the evidence showed the killing was pre-meditated. The state attorney asked the suspect remain in custody until the end of the legal proceedings.
According to the officer's lawyer, his client was not involved in the actuall shooting in question: "No only did the defendant not kill (the Palestinian youth), he didn’t even shoot. We believe that he will be cleared of the (manslaughter) charge." He cited technical problems with the forensic evidence.
Nadim Nuwara, 17, was shot during a demonstration in May at which Palestinians hurled stones at IDF forces in the West Bank. A second teenage protester was killed there but Israel has made no arrest in that case, citing lack of evidence as an autopsy was not carried out.
CCTV footage aired by CNN suggested neither youth posed any immediate threat to the troops stationed some 70 yards (64 metres) away. Their deaths stoked Palestinian fury at Israel that has simmered since US-sponsored peace negotiations collapsed in April.
The accused was arrested on Nov. 12 and his name has not been released.
An indictment filed at Jerusalem District Court said the policeman had slipped a live bullet into his ammunition clip, which was meant to hold only non-lethal blank rounds with which to propel rubber bullets mounted separately on the rifle muzzle.
"The defendant used the blanks magazine so that his live fire, as opposed to rubber-bullet fire, would not be observed," the indictment said, adding that he had targeted Nuwara's torso "with the intent of causing him grave injury, and while anticipating the possibility that he would cause his death".
Manslaughter, a charge associated with unintentional killings, carries a maximum 20-year prison term in Israel though judges can hand down lighter sentences. Murder usually carries a life term.
"All indications show the killing was deliberate and pre-mediated. It was not random fire," Nuwara's father, Siam, told Reuters. "A manslaughter charge is unacceptable. What sentence might he get if the charge is manslaughter?"
Asked to explain the charge, the Jerusalem District Prosecutor's Office did not respond as the court was still in session.
The policeman has previously denied firing live ammunition, saying he used rubber bullets only in the incident outside Ofer Prison, near the Palestinian town of Beitunia. He has yet to plead to Sunday's charge.
Reuters contributed to this report