The Military Advocate General’s Corps (MAG) announced today, Thursday, December 5th, 2013, the closing of the investigation concerning the circumstances surrounding the death of Mustafa Tamimi by a tear gas canister on December 9th, 2011.
In accordance with the IDF (Zahal) MAG policy, a criminal investigation was opened immediately following the incident.
The independent criminal investigation conducted by the Military Police collected testimonies from soldiers who had participated and witnessed the event. During the investigation, the soldier responsible for shooting the tear gas canister testified that the tear gas was shot in response to heavy stone throwing at the IDF (Zahal) vehicle and the nearby road, and that he did not see any people in the line of fire at the time of the incident.
The investigation was complex and encountered several difficulties. For example, a central witness, who according to pictures apparently participated in the stone hurling at the military vehicle with Mustafa Tamimi, refused to testify on the matter. Additionally, violent riots, which included throwing stones at Military Police investigators, repeatedly impeded the ability to perform a reconstruction at the scene of the incident.
The investigation included the examination of numerous photos and videos that documented the event, which provided a full picture of the incident from which a comprehensive visualization of events was derived. In addition, an expert opinion was obtained, which stated that due to the narrow opening of the vehicle’s door, and Tamimi ‘s movements toward the jeep, was obscured and therefore the soldier did not and could not see Tamimi.
Based on the evidence collected, testimonies, and field reconstruction, expert opinion, throughout the investigation, it was concluded that the shooting of the canister was done in accordance with the relevant rules and regulations, and did not involve any offence. As a result, the MAG decided to close the case without any disciplinary or criminal consequences to the IDF (Zahal) personnel involved.
Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, IDF (Zahal) Spokesman: “This is an individual tragedy, with an awful outcome. The thorough investigation concluded that the troops operated within their realm of responsibility, and that by running at the vehicle, Tamimi put himself at unnecessary risk, unfortunately resulting in his death. The violence the IDF (Zahal) is faced with on a weekly basis undermines the safety and security that we are operating to maintain”.