Israeli police shoot Palestinian in the back ‘for fun’ in leaked clip

29th Nov 2019
Israeli police shoot Palestinian in the back ‘for fun’ in leaked clip

(Credit: Facebook Commons)

Elham Asaad Buaras

A clip of an Israeli police officer shooting an unarmed Palestinian man in the back ‘for fun’ in a checkpoint outside of Jerusalem gone viral after it was broadcast on Israeli TV earlier this month. Leaked footage of the shocking incident, which took place a year and a half age, shows the unidentified man falling to the floor in pain after being hit with a sponge-tipped bullet.

The cruel footage shows border officers shouting at the young man to “get out of here” in Arabic. One officer then points his gun at the Palestinian man, who holds his hands up and starts to calmly walk away. The police then continue to shout contradicting instructions at him as he begins to panic before one of them shoots him in the back. They report the police as saying the man was not seriously hurt, although newspaper Haaretz reported that he was ‘seriously wounded.’

A 20-year-old policewoman was arrested last year and appeared before Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court in a bail hearing. The court heard that the policewoman allegedly shot an unarmed Palestinian in the back with a sponge-tipped bullet “without any operational reason”, leaving him seriously wounded. The court’s judge, Elad Persky, said the policewoman seemed to have shot the Palestinian “as a dubious form of entertainment”, before ordering that she be held for another three days.

Israeli police said they removed the policewoman from the force after learning of the incident, while other police involved in the incident were re-assigned. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the justice ministry had opened an investigation into the incident. “As soon as the incident became known, the female border police officer was removed from duty. The other border policemen who were there were also removed, and some of them were transferred from their positions.”

In a statement issued on November 3, the justice ministry said it would soon announce whether to charge a former policewoman. The ministry added that it had completed a criminal investigation after holding four hearings into last year’s incident. It did not say when it would reveal its decision.

The Palestinian Liberation Organisation slammed Israel over the incident and urged the UN to act. ‘The video shows the extent of blind hatred and Zionist racism,’ it said.

Israeli violence against Palestinians while on duty is commonplace. According to Human Rights Watch’s 2017 report, “Israeli security forces fatally shot 42 Palestinians and wounded at least 3,279, including passersby, demonstrators and those suspected of attacking Israelis.” HRW adds: “In many cases, video footage and witness accounts strongly suggest that [Israeli] forces used excessive force.”

At a bail hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court last year, Judge Elad Persky said the suspect shot the Palestinian ‘as a dubious form of entertainment’, according to Haaretz.

Israel’s leading human rights group, B’Tselem, said a culture of impunity was behind incidents like these. ‘This exceptional documentation shows what, sadly, is an unexceptional event: Israeli security forces hurting a Palestinian for absolutely no reason,’ said B’Tselem spokesman Amit Gilutz.

‘Such instances are the direct result of the culture of impunity fostered by Israel, which is crucial to the perpetuation of its military control over the Palestinians.’ Three million Palestinians live in the territory, alongside more than 400,000 Israelis in settlements seen as illegal under international law.

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