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WATCH: IDF officer stones, shoots at Palestinian protesters

This post has been updated (see below).

The video below was taken by Palestinian photographer Bilal Tamimi in Nabi Saleh on June 1, 2012. I received it from the spokeswoman for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, an umbrella organization for various local unarmed resistance initiatives in the West Bank (like the ones in Bil’in, Ni’lin and many other places).

The video was taken during the weekly unarmed protest in the Nabi Saleh.  It clearly shows an IDF officer throwing stones and shooting at two Palestinian stone throwers. The delay between the shots and their sound can be explained by the fact that the photographer is standing on an opposite hill. You can see the dust rise next to the Palestinians, from the bullets fired at around 1:20, and again later in slow motion. According to local testimonies, the officer was shooting live ammunition (that’s what the video seems to indicate as well). I will update this post later with an IDF spokesperson response, if and when I get one.

UPDATE: Israeli media is reporting that the officer seen in the video was suspended until the completion of the army’s investigation into the event. 

Palestinians in the tiny village of Nabi Saleh have been holding weekly demonstrations since 2009, protesting the seizure of a local spring by settlers from the nearby settlement of Halamish. So far, one protester was killed, and dozens suffered serious injuries by IDF soldiers during the Nabi Saleh demonstrations. Hundreds, including Israelis and internationals who take part in the protest, have been arrested.

The struggle in Nabi Saleh is so important, because it’s one of the only efforts taking place right now to directly confront Israel’s policy of settlements and land confiscation, which had such enormous effects on the Palestinian population in the West Bank’s rural areas. The measures against the people of Nabi Saleh are not limited to the demonstrations: There are night raids, long prison terms, and what seems like arbitrary punishment against the residents, like the one caught on camera here.

I highly recommend reading this post, which gives some context and history of the events in Nabi Saleh.

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    1. Jack

      Acting like they are in kindergarten. If this development keeps on going for some years apartheid will be full blown. Palestinians are treated like non-humans.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Adam

      The Palestinians are throwing rocks at the Israeli soldiers. Does rock throwing come under the category of “unarmed resistance?” It seems pretty clear that the soldier is shooting at the ground in order to disperse the rock throwers(if he was aiming to kill, then he has to be the worst shot in the army, since he’s practically standing over them). How else do you suggest the soldiers defend themselves against rock throwers?

      Reply to Comment
    3. Adam – The soldiers don’t need to defend themselves. They need to stay out of the village and stop interfering with legitimate protests that *always* begin with unarmed people marching, chanting and holding banners. The soldiers use violence to disperse the demonstration; the rock throwing is a response to the soldiers’ violence.

      Reply to Comment
    4. aristeides

      The soldiers should defend the spring from the settlers who have no legal right to it. Then the Palestinians wouldn’t throw stones at them. The settlers might, then the soldiers could shoot the settlers.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Piotr Berman

      I agree with Lisa that the big picture is that soldiers here are instruments of dispossession and oppression. However, Adam has a valid point that compared with other videos of demonstration, this is almost playful. No suffocating tear gas, no skunk water which is high tech form of shitting at people, no beating and no arrests. And the soldiers do not look like from “Invasion of Daleks”.

      Carefully aimed warning shots from a handgun are less dangerous than recklessly aimed self-propelled tear gas grenades, as we know, sadly. I would suspend IDF command instead of the officer, they give the idiotic orders to defend the stolen spring etc.

      Reply to Comment
    6. max

      Lisa – so you admit that the soldier isn’t at fault, right?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Rehmat

      Remember anti-occupation US activist, Rachel Corrie, who was bulldozed to death – did not even threw a stone at the soldier.

      Last year, Dr. Steven Plaut (Haifa University) proclaimed her “Mother Teresa for the radical left and apologists for Islamofascism”.


      Reply to Comment
    8. Richard SM

      These soldiers, who are not in their own country, and are clearly not in a hurry to get anywhere, some are standing around while others decide to move down the slope, enter the range of the stone-throwers and shoot at the people who do live in the country. This prompts the question: “How else do you suggest the soldiers defend themselves?” Absurd!

      Reply to Comment
    9. XYZ

      We are still waiting here at 972 for follow-up on what happened regarding the other supposedly shocking incidents that were reported here. In the first incident, the a clearly identifiable person is seen and it is claimed that he was shooting at Palestinians for the fun of it while others were claimed to be setting fire to the Palestinians field. There were numerous soldiers present as witnesses and I don’t believe they are all “right-wingers” who would lie to cover up the incident. HAVE THERE BEEN ARRESTS OR NOT? IF NOT, WHY NOT? IS IT BECAUSE NO CRIME WAS COMMITTED? There were also other incidents reported here later. What happened to them?

      Reply to Comment