Palestinian medics said Muhammad Abu Thahr, 16, and Nadim Nuwara,
17, were shot dead by Israeli troops using live ammunition on May 15
as they took part in the demonstration.
The Israeli military says its forces only fired rubber bullets that
day and had no immediate reaction to the report from the New
York-based human rights group.
Video from security cameras on Palestinian properties close to the
scene showed the two teenagers fall to the ground in separate
incidents, apparently shot despite posing no immediate threat to
"The willful killing of civilians by Israeli security forces as part
of the occupation is a war crime," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East
and North Africa director for Human Rights Watch, said in a
"The Israeli military's claim that its forces didn't shoot any live
ammunition on May 15 does not stand up to scrutiny," she said,
calling on Israel to prosecute those who shot the youths and also
any commanders who ordered the use of live fire.
The Israeli military has said it is investigating the incident, but
Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon has suggested the surveillance video
might have been doctored. The human rights groups that distributed
the material denied that.
[to top of second column]
The Human Rights Watch report, entitled 'Killing of Children
Apparent War Crime', said it also appeared that Palestinians who
tried to help the stricken Nuwara had rubber bullets fired at them
by Israeli forces.
One projectile "struck the head of a Palestinian medic, who was
wearing a bright orange vest", the organisation said.
The killings took place during protests across the West Bank on
Nakba Day, when the Palestinians mark the loss of their homes in the
1948 war that resulted in the creation of the state of Israel and
the flight of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.
The demonstration that Thahr and Nuwara attended was at times
violent, with Palestinian youths hurling stones at the Israeli
forces. But the security cameras suggested there was no stone
throwing going on when the two teenagers were shot.
(Writing by Crispian Balmer; editing by Ralph Boulton)
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