A preliminary investigation by Israel suggests that its security forces fired live ammunition during a violent demonstration in May in which two Palestinian teenagers died, according to Israeli media reports Wednesday.
The deaths — caught on a surveillance camera — created a furor because Israeli forces initially denied Palestinian claims that live ammunition had been used to quell the protest.
If the use of live ammunition is confirmed, it could mean that Israeli troops and their commanders on the scene may have lied to investigators or attempted a coverup.
A border police officer has been arrested in connection with the death of 17-year-old Nadim Nuwara, said Micky Rosenfeld, a spokesman for Israeli police.
There have been no arrests in the death of Muhammad Salameh, the other teen. A third teen survived a bullet that entered his chest and exited his back during the May 15 protest at a military checkpoint between Israel and the West Bank.
Palestinian officials, human rights activists and the families of the teens have insisted that the youths were shot in cold blood by Israeli security forces, which critics claim are too quick to fire on civilians and then try to cover up their actions.
After the incident, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki called for a thorough, transparent investigation of the case, which has been one of the most widely documented and debated in Israel in years.
On Wednesday, Siam Nuwara, the father of Nadim, praised the Israelis for the arrest. “I know Israel is a country of laws,” he said. “This is a golden opportunity for Israel to prove to the world that its laws are not only for them but for Palestinians, too.”
Details about the arrest of the officer and the investigation were not released. An attorney for the officer told reporters during a courtroom appearance that his client maintains that he had discharged rubber bullets only.