April 10, 2018
In Blog News
Israel’s defence minister has said an Israeli sniper who shot a Palestinian across the border in Gaza in a controversial video “deserves a medal”.
Footage of the incident, in which a soldier expresses joy at having captured it on film, drew condemnation from politicians and rights groups.
Israel’s military said the man who was shot had been orchestrating a riot, and he was hit in the leg.
It said the soldiers involved in the filming will be dealt with.
In the video broadcast on Monday, three men are seen nearing a barrier or fence. The crack of an apparent gunshot is heard and one of the men, who had been standing still and appeared to be unarmed, falls to the ground.
A voice is heard to exuberantly declare in Hebrew: “Wow, what a video. Yes! Son of a bitch! What a video!”
A crowd of people are then seen rushing to retrieve the man who was shot. His condition is not clear.
In a statement, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said the incident had taken place on 22 December, 2017, in the area of the Israeli community of Kissufim, close to the Gaza border.
It said the video “depicts a short part of the response to a violent riot”, and “a single bullet” was fired after other attempts to stop the violence had failed.
The statement did not comment on the sniper but said the “unauthorised filming” by another soldier, and the distribution of the footage and comments heard on the tape “do not suit the degree of restraint expected of IDF soldiers”.
It said those issues would “be deal by commanders accordingly”.
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman told reporters the sniper “deserves a medal”, though he added that the soldier who filmed the incident deserved “a demerit”.
The video first appeared on Israel Channel 10 television and was widely shared online, drawing shocked reactions.
Israeli Arab MP Ayman Odeh said in a tweet that the video “horrifies the mind”. “Calls of joy at taking a life and what appears to be the execution of someone who did not threaten anyone,” he added.
He called for the alleged culprits to be put on trial.
The alleged incident was also denounced by Israeli politicians on the right and left.
Yehuda Glick, from the ruling Likud party, called it a “very hard video to watch. Disturbing and disappointing.”
Others though cautioned against passing judgment on the evidence of the video clip alone.
The case comes at a time of heightened tensions over Gaza.
Israel has faced mounting criticism for shooting dozens of Palestinian, many fatally, during clashes at protests along the border in the past two weeks.
Israel has defended its actions, saying it has only used live fire against individuals trying to breach the border fence, or those using weapons or explosives.