The father of a Palestinian toddler who was killed by Israeli forces in Gaza on July 8, 2015, has come forward to say that the Israeli soldiers had no right to fire their weapons at him.
Speaking to Al Jazeera, Ibrahim al-Haj, who is now 25, said he did not believe the Israeli army had the right to shoot at him when he was standing next to his children and they were holding their heads.
“I don’t believe that the soldiers did anything wrong,” he said.
“They just opened fire on me, and I was not there.”
Haj’s testimony, which was obtained by Al Jazeera and aired on Sunday, is the first time an Israeli military court has publicly acknowledged that its soldiers had the legal right to open fire on a child.
“The IDF is responsible for the protection of civilians in all circumstances,” the court said in its statement on Friday.
“At the time of the attack, the IDF was under the command of the commander of the 1st Brigade, which is the Israeli equivalent of the US Special Forces,” it added.
The army has never officially acknowledged that the soldier opened fire.”
The soldiers then took the child into their custody and brought him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.”
The army has never officially acknowledged that the soldier opened fire.
But in a statement released by the army, it said that the child’s mother “did not provide any reason to suspect her son was in danger, and the IDF does not believe she acted deliberately to endanger the life of the children.”
The statement added that the incident occurred “under circumstances where the soldiers had a reasonable suspicion” that “the child was armed with a weapon”.
“The soldiers had an obligation to prevent such a threat to the life and safety of the soldiers,” it said.
Israel is facing increasing international criticism over its use of excessive force, including the killing of at least four Palestinians and the wounding of another more than a dozen in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as a series of attacks on Jewish targets.
Israel’s military court recently upheld a court decision to acquit three soldiers of manslaughter over the July 7 killing of three Palestinians, in the West Bank village of Beit Shemesh.
The court found that the death was not a justified act of self-defence, and that the officers acted unlawfully.