Israeli Forces Kill a Judge in Cold Blood at al-Karamah Border Crossing with Jordan

11 March 2014 — PCHR – Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

Ref: 27/2014 – Date: 11 March 2014 – Time: 13:00 GMT

In a cold-blooded murder, on Monday morning 10 March 2014, Israeli forces stationed at the al-Karamah checkpoint with Jordan killed a judge working in Amman Magistrate’s Court while he was on his way back to the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).  Israeli forces claimed that the judge attempted to seize the weapon of an Israeli soldier who in response shot and killed him. Investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) refuted the Israeli claims and emphasized that the judge did not constitute any threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers.

According to an eyewitness’ testimony, at approximately 08:00 on the aforementioned day, a bus transferred passengers from the Jordanian border side to the first checkpoint at the other side of al-Karamah crossing, which is under Israeli control.  The Israeli soldiers ordered the bus passengers to get off in order to search them and at approximately 08:15, they ordered them to get back onto the bus.  All passengers got on the bus except Raed ‘Alaa’ al-Deen Z’aiter (38), a judge in Amman Magistrate‘s Court originally from Nablus and living in Jordan, another young man and a woman who were about to get into the bus.  One of the Israeli soldiers pushed Z’aiter, who holds the Jordanian passport, but Z’aiter refused the soldier’s behavior resulting in skirmishes between them.  Another soldier again pushed the judge, who fell on the ground and then got up to push the Israeli soldier.  The latter in turn shot at him and fell on the ground.  The soldier directly fired another shot which penetrated the judge’s chest, so he was pushed two steps back.  A third bullet was fired to hit his chest and he fell on the ground.  Z’aiter was left for 30 minutes on the ground without receiving medical aid. He bled to death. 

Afterwards an ambulance belonging to the Red Star of David arrived and took his body to an unknown destination.  In the evening, an ambulance belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent Association received Z’aiter’s body and took him to Rafidiah Surgical Hospital in Nablus where the body arrived at approximately 21:45.  In the afternoon on Tuesday 11 March 2013, Z’aiter’s body was proceeded to the family cemetery in Nablus.

PCHR strongly condemns the cold-blooded murder of Z’aiter and stresses that this Israeli crime proves again the disregard for civilian lives. 

PCHR also calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to stop the Israeli forces’ crimes and reiterates its call to the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to fulfill their obligations under Article 1; i.e., to respect and to ensure respect for the Convention in all circumstances, and their obligation under Article 146 to prosecute persons alleged to commit grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  These grave breaches constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the same Convention and Protocol (I) Additional to the Geneva Conventions.

Public Document

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For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8 2824776 – 2825893

PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip. E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org

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