A video released Sunday shows a large group of Israeli soldiers taking turns assaulting a Palestinian detainee in the West Bank city of Hebron, amid protests against Trump’s recent declaration to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
The video, filmed last Friday by a resident of Hebron and released by Israeli anti-occupation group B’Tselem, shows the soldiers forcibly dragging a handcuffed a young Palestinian man through Wadi al-Tufah Street. He is repeatedly kicked, slapped, and manhandled by the soldiers, before being blindfolded. A resident of Hebron said he began filming the incident after hearing the man’s screams.
The man was arrested during a Palestinian “Day of Rage,”across cities in the West Bank and Gaza, in response to Trump’s declaration, leading to the death of two Palestinians who were shot dead by Israeli security forces. Hundreds of others were wounded by live fire, rubber bullets, and tear gas across the occupied territories.
The above incident is reminiscent of one described by Breaking the Silence Spokesperson Dean Issacharoff, who was recently attacked by top Israeli leaders after they accused him of lying about beating up a Palestinian who was resisting arrest — also in Hebron — during his time as a soldier. The State Attorney’s Office, which looked into Issacharoff’s claim, eventually closed the case, determining that the incident in question never took place and that Issacharoff had lied (according to Issacharoff, the State Attorney’s Office interrogated the wrong Palestinian the whole time).
According to a B’Tselem statement, by closing the case against Issacharoff, the State Attorney “attempted to paint a false portrait of reality, according to which Israeli soldiers are rarely violent toward Palestinians, and every case always leads to an investigation.”
“This is the violent routine of occupation: dispersing protests, whether or not their participants use violence, as well as arresting and putting protest leaders on trial,” the statement continued. “These are common techniques used by Israel’s security forces, which align with the worldview of the authorities, according to which Palestinians have no right to resist the occupation, not to mention the right to free expression and protest.”
+972 reached out to the IDF Spokesperson for comment. It will be published here as soon as it is received.
Update [Dec 11, 2017]:
+972 asked the IDF Spokesperson: whether the soldiers’ superiors were aware of the incident prior to the release of the video; if so, whether they were being investigated for failing to report the beatings; and whether the soldiers involved are being investigated or if they have been disciplined.
An IDF spokesperson sent the following response:
On Friday there were violent riots in the city of Hebron. IDF soldiers on the scene responded by using riot dispersal means, and arrested instigators who threw stones and Molotov cocktails.
The video shows the arrest of one of the suspects in the riot.
The behavior of the soldiers in the video will be investigated by their commanders as soon as possible.
Pressed on the question of whether the soldiers’ commanders were aware of the incident prior to the video’s release, the spokesperson sent the following:
Relevant officers in the army were aware of the event, and an investigation was launched before the video was released. Future steps will be taken based on the conclusions of the investigation.
Asked to clarify the apparent contradiction about when the investigation was or will be started. The spokesperson responded:
Upon the end of the violent riots in Hebron, a process of internal investigation began in the battalion in order to check whether there had been violence during the riots.
When the video was released, an in-depth investigation of the incident took place additionally.