Israel confirms video showing soldiers shoot Palestinian
April 10, 2018
A video making the rounds online appears to show Israeli soldiers celebrating after shooting a Palestinian man. Israel's defense minister has lauded the shooter, but said the soldier who took the film should be demoted.
Israel's military on Tuesday confirmed the authenticity of a video that shows soldiers celebrate after shooting a protester on the other side of the Gaza border.
A number of Israeli ministers, including defense chief Avigdor Lieberman, defended the soldiers in the video, while the military said the Palestinian had been shot in the leg and wounded. It was not clear whether the victim had died.
The military also alleged that the incident took place last December following riots and warnings from troops. "During the riot, means were taken in order to disperse it, including verbal warnings and calls to halt, using riot dispersal means and firing warning shots into the air," the army said in a statement.
Victims of Gaza Strip violence
In the video, which surfaced on Monday, voices can be heard discussing whether to open fire at a Palestinian standing close to a fence. After the shooter opens fire, knocking the man to the ground, one of the voices says in Hebrew, "Wow. What a video! Yes! That son of a bitch."
The video's release comes at a highly sensitive time for Israel's military, which is under increasing international scrutiny for its use of live fire on the Gaza border. At least 31 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more wounded following the outbreak of protests and clashes at the border since March 30.
Saeb Erekat, a top official with the Palestinian Authority, has described the shootings as "extrajudicial killings."
After the authenticity of the video was confirmed, Lieberman told reporters that the sniper "deserves a medal" for shooting the Palestinian, but that the solider who recorded the incident should be demoted.
The military said the unauthorized filming and distribution of the material would be dealt with accordingly.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett of the far-right Jewish Home party also justified the shooter's behavior, telling army radio: "Judging soldiers because they are not expressing themselves elegantly while they are defending our borders is not serious."
Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan downplayed the significance of the video, telling local media that the video "doesn't show gunfire at everyone, but at a terrorist who approaches the barrier in an unauthorized zone coming from an area controlled by Hamas terrorists."
On the Palestinian side, however, senior official Hanan Ashrawi said the video showed what Palestinians have long decried as Israeli soldiers' everyday behavior on the Gaza border, "but nobody has been listening."