Video shows 2013 death of Palestinian teen trying to sabotage fence
IDF ambush spots 16-year-old Samir Awad entering fence area in effort to sabotage it; force's cover was blown and the troops opened fire, killing the teen who was making his escape; earlier this week, prosecution withdrew indictment against officer, soldier over involvement in the incident.
In January 2013, a force from the Armored Corps' 71st Battalion lying in ambush spotted a group of Palestinian teens approaching the separation barrier near the village of Budrus in the Ramallah area.
The Palestinians started hurling stones at the fence, hitting two of the soldiers, but the troops remained hidden.
The soldiers then spotted 16-year-old Samir Awad entering an area between the fence proper and an additional barbed wire fence added on the Palestinian side.
The troops were supposed to throw a stun grenade at Awad, but their cover was blown. Awad, who was unarmed, spotted the force and started fleeing.
The soldiers ordered Awad to stop in Arabic. When he ignored them, the platoon commander fired into the air in warning.
Awad then jumped over the barbed wire fence to the Palestinian side. He became tangled in barbed wire, but was able to extract himself and continue running toward the village.
The platoon commander then shot at Awad three times, one shot to the side of his leg and two below the knees.
At this point, another soldier shot into the air once or twice and asked the platoon commander whether he should throw the stun grenade.
Less than a minute had passed and Awad collapsed from his wounds and fell to the ground.
The IDF force tried to provide him with medical aid, but his relatives evacuated him to a nearby Palestinian hospital, where he was declared dead.
The platoon commander and one of the soldiers under his command, who allegedly shot the Palestinian, were charged only with "reckless behavior and negligence," though they initially faced more serious charges.
The case against the two, which was opened after their release from the IDF, was fraught with evidentiary issues, including difficulty of getting credible information from the Palestinians about Awad's autopsy and changes of versions made to some of the witnesses' testimonies.
In addition, the IDF was unable to determine which of the two fired the fatal shot.
Recently, the two soldiers' lawyers have asked the military court to order the prosecution to provide them with all 110 legal military opinions in similar cases over the past decade of Palestinian suspects' death by IDF soldiers, which were closed without an indictment.
The court was leaning towards accepting the unusual request, which was filed under the claim of selective enforcement. Such a move could have opened a Pandora's box, which would have revealed why the IDF hasn't charged soldiers who shot unarmed Palestinians.
Eventually, the military prosecution decided to withdraw the indictment.
Military Advocate General Col. Ran Cohen welcomed the decision. "For three years now, we've been waging a battle to acquit an IDF officer and a soldier who encountered a situation of war and acted as their commanders expected and in accordance with the instructions they received before leaving for the ambush," he said.