ISRAEL

A damning video for the Israeli Army

3 min

A scene of shocking brutality on the part of the Israeli Army emerged yesterday, in a video filmed by a Palestinian teenager. The amateur footage shows an Israeli soldier firing a rubber bullet at a Palestinian protestor barely a metre away. According to the NGO who got hold of the video, Israeli authorities then tried to cover up the blunder. Read more and see the video...

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A scene of shocking brutality on the part of the Israeli Army emerged yesterday, in a video filmed by a Palestinian teenager. The amateur footage shows an Israeli soldier firing a rubber bullet at a Palestinian protestor barely a metre away. According to the NGO who got hold of the video, Israeli authorities then tried to cover up the blunder.

The incident happened in the town of Nilin, northwest of Jerusalem, around two weeks ago. The victim, Palestinian protestor Ashraf Abu Rahman, 27, was demonstrating against the construction of the West Bank barrier, which will cut off his village from its farm land. Bound and blindfolded, he was shot in the foot with a rubber bullet, but later released. After the video was made public, the soldier responsible was arrested for interrogation by the Israeli police. The Observers is publishing accounts from a senior member the NGO who collected and published the video, B'Tselem, and the young Palestinians who filmed the confrontation.

"We're often witness to scenes of harassment here"

Salam Jamal Kanaan, 17, filmed the scene from her balcony. Her brother, Mohammed Kanaan, took hold of the camera after the gunshot.

Salam:

I was on my balcony when it started, about 50m from my house. I'm in the habit of filming short videos for the web, as we're often witness to scenes of harassment here in Nilin. Ashraf Abou Rahmé's from Baalin, the neighbouring village. When the gun went off, I screamed and my brother took the camera. We were scared of becoming the Israeli's target ourselves so we went inside. That's why the video cuts after the gunshot and starts again about a minute later."

Mohammed:

Our village has lost 140 dunams of land (140,000m²), four water wells and 500 olive trees because of this wall. The villagers were peacefully protesting when the Israeli soldiers arrested Ashraf Abou Rahmé, then shot him from above. Luckily my sister was filming the scene - with a camera that would normally be used for end of year parties - because all local and international press is banned from entering our village."

"Without this video, no enquiry would have been opened"

Sarit Michaeli runs the communication department of the NGO B'Tselem

We launched the programme "Shooting Back" a year ago, and have since given out around 100 cameras to Palestinians living in the Hebron area. However, it wasn't one of our cameras that was used by the girl who filmed this incident. She got the footage to us with the help of expats living in the Palestinian Territories. She had tried to give it directly to the press, but they didn't broadcast it. It wasn't until after we aired it, after verification, that they did too.

This film is extremely important because it shows that the Israeli Army is used to covering up this kind of thing. There was a lieutenant there when the bullet was fired! These kinds of bullets shouldn't be fired at a distance below 14 metres because they can be fatal. But as we can see, without this video, no enquiry would have been opened.

This is the first video we've seen with the Israeli Army committing a blunder [see the videos here]. The videos we've released so far have shown settlers being violent."