With West Bank unemployment spiking under COVID-19, some Palestinians reportedly tried to seek work in Israel, only to have Israeli soldiers beat them for an hour and steal their money…
By Alison Weir
Palestinian media have posted a video reportedly showing Israeli soldiers beating Palestinian workers on their way to work in Israel earlier this week. The video appears to have been taken by the Israeli soldiers themselves. It is unclear how the video became public.
According to one of the victims, the video only shows a little of the beating, which lasted about an hour: “The video is nothing compared to the real thing.” The soldiers also reportedly stole money from the workers.
According to Palestine News Network (PNN), the workers were on their way to work in Israel when they were detained by Israeli soldiers.
One of the victims, 21-year-old Montaser Al-Fakhoury, told PNN “that the coronavirus outbreak had worsened the already bad economic situation, forcing many young people to go to work inside Israel.
“’The night of the attack, we left our homes at 11:15 at night and reached the borders and barbed wire. We crossed to be surprised by an ambush of soldiers on the other side, and when they caught us we asked for the presence of police for legality, but they refused to inform the police and began assaulting us brutally.'”
Fakhoury told PNN: “They were beating us mercilessly. When we said we had respiratory illnesses, they beat us on our chests, and they kept going. After that they stole 1100 shekels from me and stole money from the rest of the workers. In addition, they stole dozens of cigarette packs from us,”
“The soldiers dealt with us outside the law and humiliated us, pulled us by our feet on the ground, hit us with sticks and also made fun of us alongside the beating,” he said. Afterward, Al-Fakhoury was apparently released without charge.
Al-Fakhoury said that the workers had not realized that the soldiers were filming their actions, “we only thought that they had their mobile flashlights on.”
In a video posted on Facebook by Shehab News on August 19th, Al-Fakhoury describes the incident:
So far, US media do not seem to have mentioned the videos.
Israeli journalist Gideon Levy reports that Israeli soldiers frequently beat prisoners. Israeli violence against Palestinian prisoners has been documented since at least the 1970s. Among the numerous victims have been children and American citizens (documented by Foreign Service Journal).
There are numerous previous videos of Israeli soldiers beating Palestinians. For example, in 2015 Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper reported: “IDF soldiers were captured on video Friday beating a Palestinian man, even after forces had restrained him after he was arrested in a protest in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jalazone this Friday.” (Video is available here.)
Another video is from 2017:
Clips of these and additional beatings can be seen here:
Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.