Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 12 December 2019

Video raises questions about Israeli shooting of Palestinian

UN special co-ordinator for Middle East peace process calls for incident to be ‘thoroughly investigated’

Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Omar Badawi during his funeral in the Aroub refugee camp, north of the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday. EPA
Mourners carry the body of Palestinian Omar Badawi during his funeral in the Aroub refugee camp, north of the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday. EPA

An amateur video taken in the West Bank showed a Palestinian man killed by Israeli troops on Monday was shot at close range, apparently while he was unarmed and posing no threat to soldiers.

It was the second video to emerge in the past week showing the shooting of an unarmed Palestinian by Israelis, and the latest example of how amateur videos are changing the environment for soldiers in the West Bank.

In Monday’s incident, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Omar Badawi, 22, was shot in the chest in the Aroub refugee camp, near the city of Hebron, and later died of his wounds.

The Israeli military said troops had arrived in the refugee camp after Palestinians threw rocks and firebombs at a nearby motorway.

The army says soldiers came under attack by a large group of Palestinians and responded with tear gas and live fire.

It could not confirm whether or not Badawi was involved but said it was investigating his death.

Hours later, a video appearing to show the shooting began circulating on social media. In the video, a young man is walking in an alley between two buildings, with one hand in the air and carrying a towel in the other.

“Bring water. Bring water quickly,” shouts Badawi. As he leaves the alley, he appears to be shot at close range from the side.

Abdel Rahman Hassan, a Palestinian cameraman who said he filmed the incident, said a fire broke out next to the house and Badawi had come outside to put it out.

“He was carrying a towel and the moment he got there he was shot,” Mr Hassan said.

He said Badawi posed no threat and accused the soldiers of killing him “in cold blood”.

Hundreds of Palestinians attended Badawi’s funeral, while UN Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov wrote on Twitter that the video “would seem to indicate that he posed no threat to anyone” and that “such acts must be thoroughly investigated”.

Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups accuse Israeli security of routinely using excessive force, covering up abuses and carrying out half-hearted investigations.

Such cases have historically been hard to prove. But the proliferation of security cameras and phone videos has changed the equation, providing amateur videos that have uncovered abuse by Israeli forces in recent years.

A video emerged last week showing Israeli paramilitary border police shooting a young Palestinian man in the back with a painful sponge-tipped bullet as he walked away from them near a checkpoint outside Jerusalem.

Israel’s Justice Ministry says it has completed an investigation into the incident, which occurred last year, and will soon decide whether to indict the officer who fired the bullet.

In the most famous case, a soldier spent nine months in prison after he was convicted of manslaughter based on a video that showed him fatally shooting a prone Palestinian man in the head.

Updated: November 12, 2019 04:49 AM

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