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WATCH: Settlers shoot Palestinian in head while soldiers stand by

A 24 year-old Palestinian was hit in the head from a live round of bullets Saturday in the village of Asira al-Qibliya. B’Tselem footage of the event shows the settlers shooting at the young man, and Israeli soldiers standing by them – doing nothing to prevent it.

According to B’Tselem, the incident started at around 16:30 Saturday, when a group of settlers descended from the extremist settlement Itzhar towards the Palestinian village (as seen in the first video below). According to eye witnesses the settlers – some of them masked and some armed – started fires in the fields near the village and threw stones at Palestinians who moved towards them, who also started throwing stones at the settlers.

Videos shot by residents of Asira al-Qibliya and B’Tselem show a fire in the fields, settlers and Palestinians in confrontation, and soldiers standing near the settlers, yet mostly uninvolved. Amongst the settlers are three people armed with two rifles and one hand-gun, one of them wearing what seems to be a police hat. According to B’Tselem, one of the rifles is a Tavor – commonly seen in the hands of Israeli soldiers.

At one point (between 0:40-0:55 in the video below) one of the settlers is seen aiming his rifle at something, then Palestinians start throwing stones at him, and then he and his partner open intensive fire towards the stone throwers. A soldier nearing the settlers is seen running away back to the direction he and other soldiers were coming from, not preventing the shooting in any way. After a man in a green shirt is hit the soldiers pull back, Palestinians evict the man, and the woman with the camera is heard saying the man was shot in the head (Arabic). It would later be found out that the man is 24 year-old Fathi Asira, who is now in a hospital in Nablus. His condition is defined as stable.

It is worth mentioning that throughout the video soldiers are not seen trying to stop the settlers, nor disperse the two crowds in any way, although their intervention could have prevented the injury. It is unclear from the videos who exactly started the fire, as one can see several settlers trying to put it out, and also a Palestinian fire truck. However, the fire is destroying Palestinian fields very close to the village, and did not appear in the first video showing the settlers’ approach – two facts that might support the Palestinians’ claim that it was started by settlers.


The settlement of Itzhar is notorious for its radical extremism, as well as for the many attacks carried by settlers against Palestinians in neighboring villages. The settlement was also attacked itself by Palestinians, including residents of Asira al-Qibilya.

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    1. These would be, correct me if I’m wrong, the disciples of R Yitzhak Ginzburg, the Lubavitcher.

      Reply to Comment
    2. And of course R Yitzhak Shapira, the author of “the King’s Torah,” also lives in Yitzhar. But I should like to understand the significance of the fact that the Yitzhar settlers did this during Shabbat. I think there is a deliberate religious significance to the fact that they embarked on this exercise long before Shabbat ended, at 4:30 pm, when it was still broad daylight.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Piotr Berman

      There is an ancient Jewish joke about a poor Jew whose family faced starvation, so with heavy hart he decided to commit a robbery. His wife gave him a knife, and after a while he returns home empty handed. She asks “What happened?” and he replies “You stupid cow! You gave me the milk knife”.

      In that spirit, shouldn’t the settlers avoid kindling fire during Shabbat?

      Reply to Comment
    4. max

      Piotr, nice joke but maybe wrong context?

      Reply to Comment
    5. I suppose what they’re saying, in a way that would be very clear to other religious Jews, is that they regard the expulsion of the Palestinian Arabs as a ‘milhemet mitzvah’, a religious duty, which supercedes normal Shabbat observance.

      Reply to Comment
    6. max

      @RB, again reaching your own conclusions, where Haggai explicitly says it isn’t known?

      Reply to Comment
    7. Mpumi Nkosi

      International Humanitarian Law – Basic Human Rights FOR ALL! Palestinians In Occupied Territory seek a Peaceful Non Violent Process in this Beautiful Land Of Plenty…

      Reply to Comment
    8. Jack

      Appaling imagery. Murdering of palestinians is legal?

      Reply to Comment
    9. Well, I know a lot about Ginzburg. According to Motti Inbari, basing himself on Ginzburg’s essay in praise of Baruch Goldstein, “Baruch ha-Gever,” and on personal interviews with Ginzburg himself and various members of the “Od Yosef Hai” yeshiva, Ginzburg chose Nablus as a target because of the Biblical story of the rape of Dinah (Genesis chapter 34), which ends with Shimeon and Levi killing all the male inhabitants of the city. Ginzburg explicitly says that all those who wish Israel ill are to be regarded as the seed of Amalek, which means all their males are to be killed. He also cites Numbers, chapter 33, which commands the expulsion of all non-Jews from the Land of Israel. Ginzburg also states, in his book “The Dominion of Israel,” that in certain cases it may be permissible to disobey the religious leadership and the halachah itself, citing the story of Pinchas and Zimri (Numbers, chs 25-6), and even argues that Nadav and Adiyah, who brought “strange fire” before the Lord (Leviticus ch 10) are to be commended for their exceptional zeal. In other words, he’s as mad as a hatter. With the exception of Yoel Bin-Nun, almost no notable authority has challenged Ginzburg’s views, and students from the national-religious yeshivot attend his courses. His combination of messsianic activism and radical nationalism is an appealing blend for Chabad Hassidim. The result is a bridge between two groups, Chabad Hassidim on the one side, and the ideological hardcore of the settler movement on the other. Members of these two groups can easily be identified sitting alongside one another at Ginzburg’s classes. The same phenomenon was seen in 2004, when Chabad followers joined the protests of the “residents of the hills” against the eviction of the Chavat Maon settlement. And Rabbi Haim Drukman urged the Bnai Akiva yeshivot to send their students to join the demonstrations of Ginzburg’s “Temple Guard” in its monthly “March around the Gates” (of the Temple site in Jerusalem), for which the Yesha Council pays the expenses.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Elisabeth

      I did not see the settlers putting any fire out. Where is it on the videos?

      Reply to Comment
    11. Haggai Matar

      @Elisabeth – you can see at least one settler with a racket used against fires. This is also the official response of the Itzhar settlers, as published in Israeli media, that they were there to put out a fire strarted by Palestinians. I’m not saying this is what happened – just that it’s hard to tell by the videos.

      Reply to Comment
    12. Kolumn9

      What is an acceptable response to having stones thrown at your face? If there is anything that these videos show it is that the settler was shooting in response to being attacked ‘non-violently by rock throwers.

      Reply to Comment
    13. Kolumn9

      Also, notice that the claim that the settlers are putting the fire out is substantiated by the second video show, where they are clearly doing just precisely that.

      I realize that it is customary to present both sides of a situation, but in this case the claim that the settlers set the fire is directly disproved by the evidence presented to substantiate the once again disproved claim that the settler shot before the rock throwing began.

      Reply to Comment
    14. aristeides

      So if the settlers threw the first stones, it’s OK with K9 if the Palestinians shoot them?

      Reply to Comment
    15. Piotr Berman

      Max: the point of the joke is that even when you want/need to commit an atrocity, you should obey Halacha. And characteristically, settlers do not deny the shooting but kindling fires.

      I think that the second video suggest that in spite of protestations, they started the fire, because the gun-totting settlers face village youth in front of them and the fire is behind them. If the fire was set to “their field”, they would stay close to the trees trying to extinguish fresh fire with dirt. But it seems that they “protect the fire”. Also, the soldier would probably be less flegmatic if the villagers were the arsonists.

      At some point some of the settlers start batting at grass fires for obvious reason: the fire is reaching to them from behind. However well armed, the settlers could be afraid to enter the village in the middle of the confrontation. One can ask: why the settlers were running toward the village with guns and fire swatters when no fire was visible (the first video)? One possibility is that as experience arsonists, they knew how to return home through brush fire.

      Kolumn9: what is a proper way of discouraging a band of maniacs from burning a field of dry brushes and grasses next to your home?

      Reply to Comment
    16. Rafael

      If it was the Palestinians who started the fire around the settlement, why then did the clash happen in the vicinity of the Palestinian village? It’s customary for settlers to start this sort of thing, and as recorded by the Palestinian Center, they are stepping up aggression even in the context of a drop in Palestinian resistence.

      Reply to Comment
    17. Rafael

      This is how Haaretz describes the incident. That it was the settlers who came down to the Palestinian village, and started throwing rocks, is beyond doubt — their claims of defending themselves from Palestinian-initiated fire is nonsensical. If they were just defending their settlement, the clash would’ve occured in the settlement’s surroundings, not the Palestinian village’s.
      “The incident took place on Saturday, around 4:30 P.M, when a group of settlers, apparently from the nearby settlement of Izhar, came to the Palestinian village.
      “In the video distributed by B’Tselem, a group that examines Israeli human rights violations in the West Bank, the settlers are seen throwing rocks at the village houses and residents.

      A few minutes into the video, some Palestinian youths arrive at the scene and start throwing rocks back at the settlers. Shortly after, as gunfire is heard in the background, soldiers arrive and stand beside the settlers (…).”
      It is only because they have IDF collaboration in everything they do — as shown on the video — that settlers manage to spread their ridiculous spin on the facts.

      Reply to Comment
    18. Johnboy

      “What is an acceptable response to having stones thrown at your face?”

      You Move Ten Metres Further Back.

      Reply to Comment
    19. Rafael

      This is how Haaretz describes the incident. That it was the settlers who came down to the Palestinian village, and started throwing rocks, is beyond doubt — their claims of defending themselves from Palestinian-initiated fire is nonsensical. If they were just defending “their” properties, the clash would’ve occured in the settlement’s surroundings, not the Palestinian village’s.
      www. haaretz. com/news/diplomacy-defense/watch-israeli-settler-shoots-at-palestinians-while-idf-soldiers-stand-by-1.431570
      “The incident took place on Saturday, around 4:30 P.M, when a group of settlers, apparently from the nearby settlement of Izhar, came to the Palestinian village.
      “In the video distributed by B’Tselem, a group that examines Israeli human rights violations in the West Bank, the settlers are seen throwing rocks at the village houses and residents.
      A few minutes into the video, some Palestinian youths arrive at the scene and start throwing rocks back at the settlers. Shortly after, as gunfire is heard in the background, soldiers arrive and stand beside the settlers (…).”
      It is only because they have IDF collaboration in everything they do — as shown on the video — that settlers manage to spread their ridiculous spin on the facts.

      (I’m repeating this message because the previous post got stuck in the moderation filter. Feel free to remove it.)

      Reply to Comment
    20. XYZ

      This may be like the infamous “settlers run over Palestinian child for fun” film that was from Silwan. In that one, viewers were regaled with a short clip showing a car indeed hit a Palestinian child who went up on the hood of the car…apparently he was not seriously hurt.
      In fact what happened was that the kid, with several other people waited in ambush around a blind curve accompanyed by cameramen who assaulted the car with big stones and cement blocks. They smashed windows of the car, and the driver, swerving to save his life, did indeed hit the kid, inadvertently.
      Those who post these things for propaganda purposes should be careful to have them really show settlers setting fire (on the Shabbat) and
      shooting Palestinians for sport, otherwise they get discredited.

      Reply to Comment
    21. Piotr Berman

      Dear XYZ, without a link to the video, complete with smashed windows, I will reserve judgement about your story.

      What is the scenario for the set of videos above? Settlers were having their Shabbat constitutional stroll while suddenly their brains were smashed by cinder blocks so, deprived of their thinking faculties, they started to run for the nearest village and shoot?

      And what is the mystery apathetic IDF soldier saying? Were Palestinians attacking hapless settlers and he did nothing, or settlers attacked the Palestinians and he did nothing? Or his role was to be an observer and he remembers nothing?

      Reply to Comment
    22. Piotr, you’re clever. Now let me pose you a riddle: can you see what all this has to do with selling missiles?

      Reply to Comment
    23. XYZ


      See this:

      It should be noted that incidents like this on in the Shomron always occur on Shabbat because the Palestinians know that the Jews don’t carry video cameras on Shabbat.

      Reply to Comment
    24. XYZ, you should at least try to be plausible. Obviously, B’tzelem carry cameras on Shabbat. However, this is not the point. What you have to understand is that any informed religious Jew will know Ginzburg’s teaching that the milhemet miztvah transcends the halachah. There is an element of Sabbateanism in this: even though Nadav and Adiyah were struck dead by God for bringing “strange fire,” Ginzburg praises their zeal. The point he is making is that even if the individual is condemned (for transgressing halachah), his deed is justified if it hastens the coming of Moschiach, who will abolish halachah and forgive him.
      Now to answer my own riddle about the missiles, this school teaches that the true body of the Jew is atziluthic and cosubstantial with the Divinity, so when the longed-for missile war comes, it will not be destroyed. But you will be, my hiloni friends, because you are not true Jews; you belong to the erev rav.

      Reply to Comment
    25. Oh, I see what you mean now: according to this false argument, the imaginary Palestinian arsonists can set fire to Yitzhar’s fields during Shabbat, because even if a resident saw them he could not video them. Well, this is nonsense too, because they have external surveillance cameras running 24/7, and there is nothing unhalachic about this, because the halachah simply forbids turning things on, not leaving them run.

      Reply to Comment
    26. Elisabeth

      Yes, I saw it now.
      The wind is blowing to the left, so the fire is probably moving that way too, and they try to stop it there. Maybe they did not want the fire to get out of control and move too close to Itzhar?

      Reply to Comment
    27. max

      Elisabeth, maybe. Or maybe they didn’t violate the Shabat rules and are only trying to put down the fire set by others.
      Your _preference_ tells your bias
      As the Palestinians were there ready with cameras, filming how the settlers come down the hill, I’d expect them to show the settlers setting the fire on. They may have missed these several events.

      Reply to Comment
    28. Elisabeth

      Max, how do you explain the first video where there is no fire yet, and you see the settlers approaching. They are armed, so how could the villagers have moved past them to set fire to the fields BEHIND the settlers?

      Reply to Comment
    29. XYZ

      I think everyone is dancing around the real issue. Suppose everyone could be convinced that the Palestinians lit the fire and then attacked the Jews in such a way that they had no choice but to open fire. Would that change anyone’s views here? Suppose all the Settlers were peaceful little lambs. Wouldn’t they still all be Thieving Zionist Land Robbers? Everyone has his reasons for despising them. For example, there are those who say all the settlements are illegal. There are those who say the whole Zionist project is illegal and illegitimate. There are those like “Jerry Haber” and Dr Bernard Avishai (both of whom have posted here at 972) who admit they live on land in Jerusalem that was “Nakbaed” from Arabs in 1948 so they transfer their guilt to the settlers, hoping that will remove them from the spotlight. There are those like Gurvitz who say the Jews had no business coming here in the first place.
      So given the strong feelings, would it possibly be legitimate to carry out provocations in order get some juicy video clips like this in order to inflame public opinion, even if it isn’t true, like in the case with the car hitting the kid? After all, no less an authority than former Ha’aretz Editor David Landau said he was quite prepared to doctor the news in order to get the public to turn against the settlers and pro-settler political movements. So why not, if it serves the cause? Why waste time arguing if the incident really occurred as the video clip is supposed to make us think it did?

      Reply to Comment
    30. Elisabeth

      XYZ That was some of the weirdest hasbara I ever read. So your point was…?

      Reply to Comment
    31. Leen

      So let me get this straight
      An American in the deep south, if he finds a trespasser on his property and territory, he has every right to take up his Shot gun and chase the the trespasser away.

      BUT a Palestinian throwing rocks against armed settlers on their land, their territory and in their village…. it’s their fault?

      Reply to Comment
    32. He’s saying, always accuse your opponent of doing what you’re actually doing yourself, viz, in this case, always accusing your opponent of doing what you’re actually doing yourself. Which is, if I may say so, typically Goebbelsian of him.


      Reply to Comment
    33. XYZ

      Glad to see you back. You are our local representative of Prof. Tariq Ramadan’s “Red-Green” coalition-the(sometimes uneasy) alliance between the Left/Progressives and Muslims. You have my sympathy that “Red Ken” Livingston, your candidate for mayor of London, lost the election.

      Reply to Comment
    34. Leen

      Thanks but I’m not exactly sure what led you to believe I am a socialist, or that I support Ken Livingston for candidacy for mayor of London.

      Reply to Comment
    35. I doubt that he actually believes it, Leen. It’s just another of his Goebbelsian stock tactics. And by the way, the man’s name is ‘Livingstone’, with an ‘e’.

      Reply to Comment
    36. I’m sure many people, and not just XYZ himself, find my repeated descriptions of his methods of argument as ‘Goebbelsian’ extremely offensive. But I don’t do it just to be offensive; I mean it quite literally. I’ve read Goebbels’ diaries. They’re very disturbing reading, but one can learn a lot from them. He was probably the most skilled propagandist of the twentieth century. He was extremely proud of his skill, which he regarded as something rather like verbal swordsmanship. He had a deformed right leg, the result either of club foot or osteomyelitis, so the pseudo-athletic nature of propaganda appealed to him as a compensation. A true swordsman doesn’t waste his time worrying about who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, he concentrates on inflicting wounds on his opponent. He treats his opponent as singular, even if in fact the opponent is multiple; this in itself is an important technique, to define the opposition as essentially a single target, and treat it as such. This means creating myths of identity for oneself and the opposition, as when XYZ talks about ‘the Left’, which is vague enough to comprise anyone he is arguing against at the time. And he uses feints a great deal. A feint is intended to distract the opponent from the point at which the real attack is occurring. Goebbels also understood very clearly that the purpose of propaganda is not only to influence third parties, but to influence the target himself, by undermining his morale; here propaganda merges with psychological warfare. The basic techniques of psywar are constant repetition of the trivial and demeaning, and oddly enough it works better when the trivial or demeaning insult is untrue, but the target has no opportunity of rebutting it publicly. Thus for instance Goebbels perpetually referred to 1920s Berlin police chief Bernard Weiss as ‘Isidore.’ Weiss sued Goebbels over 40 times and won, but it made no difference, because the courts didn’t have the political power necessary to shut Goebbels up, and both of them knew it.

      Reply to Comment
    37. max

      @ELISABETH, sorry, I don’t follow your reasoning… do you say that the 1st and later clips cover the same area, and in addition cover the whole time span? If you say No to either of them, then I don’t understand your claim

      Reply to Comment
    38. XYZ

      I don’t think Ramadan means really that all politically-active Muslims who believe in the long-term alliance with the Left/Progresives are really socialists, after all, the Muslims, and particularly the Arabs are among the master traders and merchants of history, going back to the Bible, so they really aren’t anti-capitalist as such. Ramadan states, as I understand it, the the Progressive/Left and the Muslims have a joing interest in opposing “globalisation” under the rubric of American Capitalism.

      Reply to Comment
    39. Elisabeth

      “do you say that the 1st and later clips cover the same area”

      That is clear enough. Just Watch.

      “and in addition cover the whole time span?”

      Not sure. Do you believe the settlers moved away, let the Palestinians set fire to fields that are really close to their own village, after which the settlers came back?

      “Your _preference_ tells your bias”

      Reply to Comment
    40. max

      1. unlike you, I don’t have a bias. I wrote in my first comment that – as Haggai wrote – this issue isn’t clear; so much filming but just not this crucial part.
      I then went on and explained why ‘the other’ option is viable.
      2. I watched again. I can’t say that it’s the same place (seems like olive trees on the 1st, possibly not in the 2nd), I can’t swear that it isn’t.
      I can assert, however, that the camera was placed in a different place.
      You must have very special skills to claim otherwise.
      3. So according to you the settlers set fire and then advanced so the fire will be behind them?
      I’d shoot them for being so dumb

      Reply to Comment
    41. Elisabeth

      “3. So according to you the settlers set fire and then advanced so the fire will be behind them?”

      No they advanced. Set fire. Started shooting. What is so hard to understand. Yawn…

      Reply to Comment
    42. david

      You’re missing the point. The proud Jewish
      re-settlers of Judea and Samaria are protecting
      their land. What is dangerous is allowing Arab squatters to continue to occupy Jewish land and threaten Jewish lives and property.

      Reply to Comment
    43. The “Hasbara Handbook: Promoting Israel on Campus,” published in 2002 by the World Union of Jewish Students, gives advice on how to score points “whilst avoiding genuine discussion.” Rather than addressing your opponent’s arguments, make “as many comments that are positive about Israel as possible whilst attacking certain Palestinian positions, and attempting to cultivate a dignified appearance.” Repeat points again and again: “If people hear something often enough, they come to believe it.”

      Reply to Comment
    44. XYZ

      Yes, Palestinian propaganda repeatedly takes false stories like the phony “settler deliberately drives over innocent Palestinian child”, doctors the film, and repeatedly broadcast it to demonize Israel falsely. Typical of totalitarian propaganda.
      Also never address the opponents arguments. Instead, call him a liar, make him “prove” every point he makes, compare him to Nazis.
      Accuse Israel of having a “death cult” because it shows respect for those who have fallen in defense of the country, use this to demonize Israel, meanwhile ignoring the real death cult of the Palestinians who plaster up pictures of suicide bombers who butchered women and children in synagogue courtyards or who blew up school buses and also ignore how their official state controlled media is constantly praising these people and naming streets after them and broadcasting other Palestinians who say they want to blow themselves up and how they “revel in death unlike the coward Jews who prefer life”. It is VITAL to ignore what the Palestinians do so as to demonize Israel.
      This is the anti-Israel Palestinian propaganda line. I am sure there is a handbook for how to carry out this type of propaganda.

      Reply to Comment
    45. Detailed map of attacks on adjacent villages by Yitzhar settlers, from OCHA.
      In 2011, UN OCHA recorded 70 attacks by Yizhar settlers, the largest figure recorded from a single settlement that year. A recent EU report citing UN figures, found that in 2011 there were 411 settler attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties and property damage compared to 266 attacks in 2010, an increase of more than 50%. Compared to 132 attacks in 2009, the number has more than tripled.

      Reply to Comment
    46. max

      @RB, this post is not about a general tendency or statistical accuracy… it’s about a specific incident, that could eventually fit one or its opposite statistic.
      Lacking any evidence to fit into your pre-conceived judgement, YOU are the one avoiding the facts and retorting to generalization.
      In essence, your starting point is: Israelis are wrong, Palestinians right, now let’s start our smear campaign, to protect our little angels

      Reply to Comment
    47. max

      The only valid critique I can come up with looking at these clips is Why did the soldiers not intervene? All the rest are pure speculations based on hate

      Reply to Comment
    48. Leen

      @Rowan, indeed it’s a bit disturbing when someone attributes ethnicity to a certain political ideology (ex. XYZ’s arabs = capitalism). It’s what the anti-semites of Europe 19th century used to do (Jews = Marxists).

      Also really, given the settlers’ track record in the occupied territoy, it is them that started it. First of all, we all know that they are armed to the teeth with the Israeli army protecting them (and could you imagine the Israeli army just standing there while the fire was being lit?). It’s the tactic of the settlers.

      Plus I think people are missing the point here (talking about bias or who started what) that they are again in the OCCUPIED territory, they are illegally there (the settlers I mean). Technically even if the Palestinians did start the fire (again given the track record, photographic evidence and the fact it is highly illogical for the Israeli army to just stand there and do nothing if the settlers are in danger from the fire), they kind of doing it on their own land.

      Reply to Comment
    49. Yeah, but I insist that if you pay attention to Ginzburg’s known teachings on how halachah can and should be disregarded in the holy cause (which none of the resident occupation force of right-wing trolls here has bothered to do), then it becomes obvious that their tactic is to start the fires themselves then say, “would we do that on Shabbat?” Yes, they would. They do.

      May I make two suggestions to the +972 web team? One, add ‘remember personal details’ for commenters; two, make the box of recent comments at the bottom left of the index page longer than just the four most recent. Make it as long as possible. Nobody wants to open story after story just in case new comments have been added. Many comments never get noticed, once they leave the ‘four most recent’ box.

      Reply to Comment
    50. Elisabeth

      Max, correction: “speculations based on the settlers track record”

      I do not criticize Israel out of hatred for Jews or Israeli’s and I am sick of you trying to pull that trick (on everyone basically) over and over again.

      I criticize Israel because what is done to the Palestinians makes me angry. It is THEIR fate (1), the fact that this injustice has been going on for LONGER THAN I LIVE (2), the fact that Europe has burdened the Palestinians with the consequences of its history of persecution of the Jews (3),and the fact that my own government is COMPLICIT by always supporting Israel (4) which draws my attention to this particular conflict.

      I could not care less that the bullies in this conflict are Jews, no matter how much you would like to believe that. This is not about you.

      It is about the reasons I mentioned above, and especially because factors 2, 3 and 4 are absent in other conflicts in the world.

      Stop misrepresenting my motives, and I would appreciate an apology.

      Reply to Comment
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