Border Police officers were caught on camera Friday ramming a Palestinian rioter with a jeep and then hitting him as he lay on the ground during clashes outside Ramallah.
In videos that went viral over the weekend, a Border Police officer can be seen running alone toward a group of rioters, while a single rioter gives chase from behind the officer.
The man, who appears to throw something, is then rammed by a Border Police jeep, which then stops, and an officer hits the man in the head with his rifle and later another kicks him as Palestinian medical personnel arrive.
“A team in a vehicle saw a Palestinian running toward a [Border Police] officer while holding a sharp object in his hand and trying to stab him. The fighter pushed off the attacker and the team commander ordered the driver to close the distance with the attacker in order to prevent the stabbing. The driver hit the terrorist with his car and he [the attacker] stopped,” the Border Police said in a statement.
Photos of the incident that emerged later showed the man running toward the officer from behind, while holding a stone – not a knife – above his head.
Border Police runs over Palestinian
When Red Crescent paramedics arrived to treat the Palestinian man, a scuffle with security forces ensued.
In other footage of the incident, Border Police officers can be seen pushing press and medical personnel, with one officer using pepper spray against members of the press and Palestinian paramedics.
The Foreign Press Association condemned the incident, saying “this sort of behavior by the Border Police is both abusive and a gross violation of press freedom, and yet it has become all too common, raising serious concerns about their ability to control their actions.”
The Border Police responded that “the paramedics and press endangered themselves and the officers and refused to retreat to a secure distance from the attack scene, while at the same time clashing with the officers and refusing to listen to their demands. They were pushed back through the use of reasonable force.”
The Border Police called on all press and paramedics who arrive at such scenes “to act responsibly and listen to instructions of police to prevent further cases like this in the future.”
In the moments before the Palestinian was hit by the jeep, officers shot and wounded a rioter they said was trying to attack their officers.
“During very violent riots that included the hurling of firebombs and improvised explosive devices, a group of Border Police officers on the scene noticed a Palestinian approaching them,” the Border Police said. “From a short distance, the Palestinian tried to hurl a firebomb in his direction.”
Other footage in one of the videos shows the same jeep being hit by a firebomb thrown by rioters.
It explodes on the hood of the vehicle and causes a fire, but no further damage.
In yet another video that emerged on Friday, a Border Police jeep can be seen one night earlier last week driving in the Aida refugee camp next to Bethlehem, after violent rioting broke out in the area earlier in the day during which stones, firebombs, and pipe bombs were thrown at security forces.
In the video, a voice from a loudspeaker on the jeep calls out in Arabic, “We will fire gas at you until you all die. We are the occupation army. If you keep throwing stones at us, we will fire gas at you until you die. Your children, the elderly, the adults, everyone.”
The Border Police said Friday it views the incident with the utmost severity and that the officer in question has been suspended from all duties while the incident is investigated and a decision is made whether to allow him to remain in the Border Police.