First Published: 2012-05-21

 

Video exposes Israeli troops’ indifference towards settlers’ violence

 

Israeli army is investigating incident that was exposed by video clips in which troops appeared to stand by without intervening as settlers shot at Palestinians.

 

Middle East Online

Are there limits to Israeli settlers’ impunity?

JERUSALEM - The Israeli army said on Monday it was investigating an incident that was exposed by two video clips in which troops appeared to stand by without intervening as settlers shot at Palestinians.

The shooting incident took place on Saturday afternoon during stone-throwing clashes between settlers from the hardline Yitzhar settlement and Palestinian villagers from Asira al-Qibliya near Nablus.

The footage, which shows a Palestinian being shot by two settlers in the presence of at least three soldiers, was captured by a volunteer for the Israeli human rights group B'Tselem.

The apparent indifference of the soldiers was widely covered by the Israeli press and was condemned by the Palestinian government in Ramallah.

In response, the army said troops had arrived at the scene to break up a violent confrontation in which both sides were throwing stones at each other.

"During the confrontation, live fire was used; the incident is currently being investigated by the division commander," a military statement said.

"That said, it appears that the video in question does not reflect the incident in its entirety," it added, without elaborating.

In one of the clips, two settlers with M-16 assault rifles can be seen opening fire at a stone-thrower in a green shirt who collapses onto the ground after being hit in the head.

In the second clip from a slightly different angle, a third settler can be seen firing with a pistol towards the stonethrowers as three soldiers stand close by doing nothing.

B'Tselem filed a complaint with the police, urging them to prosecute the gunmen, and also with the military police calling for an investigation into suspicions the soldiers "did not adhere to their obligation to protect Palestinians from settler violence."

"The video footage raises grave suspicions that the soldiers present did not act to prevent the settlers from throwing stones and firing live ammunition at the Palestinians," the rights group said in a statement late on Sunday.

"The soldiers did not try to remove the settlers and in fact are seen standing by settlers while they are shooting and stone throwing."

The Palestinian Authority called on Israel to treat the incident "seriously and to open a fair investigation to bring the assailants to justice."

"The gravity of the footage lies not only in the settlers' provocations and shooting live ammunition towards unarmed residents, but also in the irresponsibility of the Israeli soldiers who stood watching the events without trying to stop the settlers," a statement said.

And it urged the international community to pressure Israel "to act firmly and promptly against the settlers' extremism, their deadly attacks, and the incitement against the Palestinians."

Palestinian witnesses said the incident occurred when dozens of settlers attacked the village throwing stones and provoking residents who threw stones back.

But Yitzhar spokesman Avraham Binyamin said the incident began when the settlement's emergency response team, which had gone to put out fires "lit by Asira residents," was attacked by "hundreds of rioters who threw stones at them."

He said the footage accurately showed the "barrage of stones at the emergency response team, while they were shielding the firefighters, two of whom were wounded by stones earlier in the event."

He said it was "obvious" that the team had only used weapons as the result of "a life-endangering situation."

The two video clips can be seen on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgeQzvIirvQ&feature=relmfu and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90__-IUNfIM&feature=relmfu

 

Iraq prepares for Mosul offensive with massive deployment

South Sudan war zones on the brink of famine

UN accuses Assad regime of 'extermination' in jails

Khamenei to Iran officials: Don’t let elections distract you!

Qatar hopes to host Summer Olympics (…) ‘maybe 2028’

Israeli general says IS wounded were treated in Gaza

Bahrain charges 11 with forming 'terrorist' group

Libya Presidential Council needs ‘more time’ to form unity government

Obama to Arab countries: security requires 'inclusive government'

Tunnel collapse kills one Gazan man on Egypt border

At least 35 migrants drown in two accidents in Aegean Sea

Cameron's office warns Brexit could affect border controls

Outraged Italy demands answers over brutal killing of student in Egypt

Russia detains seven alleged IS members

Turkey groups send in aid for thousands of Syria refugees on border

Syria rebels withdraw from three Aleppo villages

Saudi intercepts Scud missile from Yemen

Merkel heads to Turkey to press for tighter border controls

Turkey promises to let in Syria refugees 'if necessary'

Hamas armed branch executes one of its own members

Syria army advances towards rebel town of Tal Rifaat

Netherlands probes civilian casualties in Iraq air strikes

Algeria parliament adopts Bouteflika’s constitutional reforms

Erdogan asks Americans: Who’s your partner, Turkey or Kurds?

UAE ready to send ground troops to Syria

Tunisia completes construction of Libya border fence

Algeria parliament to vote on constitutional reforms

Egypt returns body of Italian student Giulio Regeni

Iran reverses mass ban on candidates for parliamentary polls

Thousands of Syria refugees brave bad weather at border with Turkey

New photos reveal serious abuse of Iraq prisoners in US facilities

EU reminds Turkey: Keep your border open to Syria refugees

Somalia recaptures key port of Merka from Shebab

Iran warns Saudi Arabia over possible ground action in Syria

Palestinian journalist to keep up hunger strike

Iraq’s Sistani to end weekly political sermons

Shebab fighters recapture key port in Somalia

Syria regime forces close in on Daraa

Israeli leaders slam Arab MPs, refuse to return Palestinian corpses

IS jihadists rise in Libya, drop in Iraq and Syria

World powers pledge $10 billion to help war-hit Syrians

Morocco king inaugurates first solar power plant

Saudi ready to send ground troops to Syria

Israel charges cop for exposing woman's ID

Russia accuses Turkey of preparing to invade Syria