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WATCH: Israeli undercover agents shoot unarmed youth at point blank range

(Updated below with a response from the Israeli military spokesperson’s office.)

A video released Wednesday onto several social media accounts and published by several news outlets shows Israeli plainclothes undercover officers apparently shooting an unarmed Palestinian youth in the leg at point blank range, while other undercover officers hold him down.

The shooting and beating took place during clashes in between Ramallah and the Beit El settlement, which abuts the de facto Palestinian capital and hosts the army’s regional headquarters base.

Several videos of the same event emerged on Wednesday, showing the Israeli plainclothes troops wearing keffiyehs wrapped around their faces, infiltrating the West Bank demonstration and then either shooting toward demonstrators at close range with handguns, or assaulting them and dragging them away to military vehicles.

Israeli army medics carry away a young Palestinian stone thrower who was shot in the leg by undercover Israeli troops on the outskirts of Ramallah. A tourniquet can be seen on his leg where he was shot, October 7, 2015. (Muhannad Saleem/Activestills.org)

Israeli army medics carry away a young Palestinian stone thrower who was shot in the leg by undercover Israeli troops on the outskirts of Ramallah. A tourniquet can be seen on his leg where he was shot, October 7, 2015. (Muhannad Saleem/Activestills.org)

Reuters bureau chief Luke Baker confirmed via a tweet that he had viewed footage of Israeli undercover officers throwing stones at soldiers and encouraging the Palestinian youth around them to do the same.

 

AFP filmed a clip of the incident shown above from a different angle. (AFP footage cannot be embedded but you can watch the clip on YouTube, the shooting takes place at at around the 0:36 second mark.) This clip looks entirely unedited (the first version zooms in to show the gun and shot) and appears to corroborate the first video.

In 2012 Haaretz newspaper reported (Hebrew link) that the commanding officer of an undercover unit confirmed it was their practice to have plainclothes agents infiltrate Palestinian demonstrations and throw stones in the direction of soldiers while encouraging the Palestinian youth to follow suit, and then arrest them for throwing stones.

Roughly 100 Palestinians were wounded across the West Bank on Wednesday, according to Palestinian news agency Ma’an, including 10 wounded by live ammunition and 89 by rubber-coated steel bullets.

Clashes have taken place on a daily basis in East Jerusalem and across the West Bank for nearly a week following tensions surrounding Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem and an increasingly frequent and ongoing series of attacks by Palestinian individuals against Israeli civilians, leaving four Israelis dead. There were five such attacks on Wednesday, leaving a number of Israelis wounded.

Protests have spread from East Jerusalem and the West Bank to Palestinian-majority and mixed Jewish-Arab cities inside Israel proper in recent days, with stone throwing and heavy handed and often violent responses from police.

In a separate incident caught on video by CCTV, Israeli police chased an unarmed boy into a grocery store in East Jerusalem, wrecking part of the store and assaulting the owner in the process. The final frames of the clip show the owner limping from his injuries just after the Israeli security forces leave his store, dragging the boy they were chasing.

 

#القدس | قبل قليل – جنود الإحتلال إقتحموا دكان “العمدة” في حي الثوري جنوب المسجد #الأقصى، واعتدوا على كل المتواجدين في المحل شباب وأطفال.

Posted by Sawt El Ghad on Wednesday, October 7, 2015

 

Update (October 8, 5 p.m.):

The Israeli army spokesperson’s office sent the following response to our request that it explain the soldiers’ actions:

In events of this type, in which soldiers operate in life threatening situations and in which a Palestinian mob is inflamed, special methods of operation are used. In this incident a violent confrontation broke out between the undercover troops and the central inciter, during which a bullet was fired into his leg. The [Israeli army] force was attacked with a barrage of stones that endangered it and was therefore forced to evacuate the area as quickly as possible. It was an accurate shot that disabled the central suspect who fought back even after the soldiers attempted to arrest him. The suspect was lightly wounded and was treated by soldiers.

The spokesperson did not respond to our inquiry regarding whether or not the soldiers shown in the video would face criminal charges.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Ben

      Well, indisputably, this tape shows graphically that the Israeli government will go to savage and criminal lengths to perpetuate the occupation and cruel subjugation of another people. In the service of land robbery. These men can’t do their work with faces uncovered and not only for internal undercover reasons, but also to keep them from being prosecuted in courts outside the Lords of the Land State. The “most moral” army? Go undercover and egg kids on to throw stones and then hold them down and shoot them in the leg when they throw stones? Where to they find these child abusers and sadists? What a sick joke.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Yeah, Right

      Just to point out, of course, that inside an occupied territory you can’t be an “undercover agent” without committing the war crime of perfidy.

      It’s an occupied territory. It is subject to a belligerent occupation.

      The authority of the occupying power therefore derives from International Humanitarian Law, it does not derive from the domestic criminal laws of the occupier.

      And…… IHL very clearly and explicitly insists that soldiers of an armed force must wear a distinctive emblem that is visible from a distance, and they must carry their weapons openly.

      It doesn’t matter if they are engaged in “combat”, if they are carrying out “pacification”, or if they are enforcing “law and order” inside that occupied territory.

      It doesn’t matter if they are on permitter guard duty.
      It doesn’t matter if they are investigating a crime.
      It doesn’t matter if they are issuing traffic tickets.

      It doesn’t matter.

      They are still members of the armed forces of an army of occupation *regardless* of the task that they happen to be carrying out, which means that when they are carrying out those tasks then they must wear a distinctive emblem that is visible from a distance, and they must carry their weapons openly.

      If they don’t then they are committing “perfidy”, and that is a war crime.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Yeah, Right

      IDF Spokesman: ….”In this incident a violent confrontation broke out between the undercover troops and the central inciter,”….

      I’m going to point out that the IDF has just admitted that the “undercover agents” are indeed “troopers” i.e. they are soldiers who are serving in an army of occupation inside an occupied territory.

      And International Humanitarian Law can not be more clear on this point: the soldiers of an armed force *must* wear a distinctive emblem that is visible at a distance, and they *must* carry their weapons openly.

      It doesn’t matter what “duty” they are carrying out:
      1) Manning a checkpoint.
      2) Collecting the garbage.
      3) Issuing traffic infringements.
      4) Quelling civil disturbances.

      It. Doesn’t. Matter.

      The soldier manning the checkpoint is a “soldier manning a checkpoint”.

      The soldier collecting the garbage is not a council worker, he is “a soldier who has been ordered to keep the streets clean”.

      The soldier who is issuing traffic fines is not a traffic-warden, he is “a soldier who has been ordered to enforce the parking laws”.

      The soldier who is quelling a civil disturbance is not a policeman, he is “a soldier who has been ordered to maintain law and order”.

      In all cases – and at all times, and regardless of the task he has been ordered to carry out – he remains exactly what he has always been: a soldier serving in an army of occupation.

      And as such he is obliged to obey the laws that apply to the soldiers in an army of occupation, including this one: he must wear a distinctive emblem that is visible at a distance, and he must carry his weapons openly.

      He can’t go “undercover”, and he can’t hide his weapon, and he can’t do that even if (as they surely will) BigCat and Gustav come along and insultingly insist that Don’t Be Stupid, Undercover Cops Do That All The Time.

      They would be wrong, precisely because he’s not a cop.

      He is a SOLDIER who has been ordered to do the job that cops would normally do, sure, he is. But he is not a Cop.

      He is a SOLDIER, and when SOLDIERS go “undercover” they are committing “perfidy”, and under IHL perfidy is a war crime.

      Reply to Comment

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