Originally Sourced Via The Intercept
An Israeli soldier was arrested on Thursday after a rights group published clear video images of him shooting a wounded, immobilized Palestinian suspect in the head following a knife attack in the West Bank city of Hebron earlier in the day.
The graphic, distressing video wasposted online by B’Tselem, an Israeli group that provides cameras to Palestinians to help them document human rights abuses in the West Bank territory that has been under military rule since Israel first occupied it in 1967.
As the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports, the video was recorded just after another soldier was stabbed and moderately wounded at a checkpoint in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron’s Old City, and two Palestinian suspects were killed, including the one who was shot in the video.
According to Ma’an News Agency in Bethlehem, the dead men were identified by the Palestinian health ministry as Ramzi Aziz al-Qasrawi, 21, and Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif, 21.
In a statement accompanying the video, B’Tselem explains that the video recorded by ‘Emad abu-Shamsiyah, a Hebron resident, shows al-Sharif lying on the road injured, with none of the soldiers or medics present giving him first aid or paying him any attention at all.”
About 18 seconds into the clip, al-Sharif can be seen clearly moving his head as he lies sprawled on his back. 90 seconds later, an Israeli soldier cocks his rifle, steps forward and fires a single shot at the wounded man from point-blank range. Moments later, a clear trail of blood can be seen streaming from the man’s head across the pavement.
Several Palestinian and Israeli observers were struck by the fact that no one around the soldier who fired the shot seemed to treat the incident as unusual — suggesting that such extrajudicial killings of suspected attackers have now become “routine,” as critics have charged.
Asked to comment on the video evidence, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, confirmed in an email to The Intercept that the army took it to be genuine. “The IDF views this incident as a grave breach of IDF values, conduct and standards of military operations,” he wrote. “A Military Police investigation has commenced and the soldier involved has been detained. All of the soldiers involved will be investigated as will the orders given.”
Ayman Odeh, the leader of the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties in Israel’s parliament, wrote on Twitter: “Israel has turned in recent months into a place in which executions are carried out in public with the encouragement of cheering mobs.”
B’Tselem, which has repeatedly raised the alarm about the shooting of wounded suspects, said that the authorities were to blame for excusing previous incidents that were less clearly documented. “Extrajudicial street killings are the direct consequence of inflammatory remarks made by Israeli ministers and officials, augmented by the general public atmosphere of dehumanization,” the group wrote.
The rights group, and another called Breaking the Silence, which documents the excessive use of force by Israel’s military in the occupied territories, has been heavily criticized in recent months by officials and Israeli nationalists for supposedly undermining the state by pointing out abuses.
In the aftermath of Thursday’s incident, the Haaretz correspondent Barak Ravid observed that this unfiltered view of what goes on in areas of the West Bank controlled by Israel’s military made it quite clear why such groups were needed.
As another Israeli journalist, Mairav Zonszein, noted, before video of the shooting came to light on Thursday, prominent settlers in Hebron were photographed mocking activists from Breaking the Silence by dressing like them for the Jewish holiday of Purim.
Israeli soldiers are in Hebron in large numbers to protect several hundred Jewish settlers who live in the center of the city of nearly 200,000 Palestinians. Last week, the Israeli columnist Gideon Levy suggested that American legislators who support Israel’s occupation of the West Bankshould visit the city to see the appalling circumstances imposed on its Palestinian majority. “I’ve never met an honest human being who went to Hebron and didn’t come back shocked,” he said.