NEW YORK – After video emerged on Monday ostensibly showing a sniper shooting an unarmed Palestinian, US Jewish groups expressed confidence that the IDF will conduct a full investigation and hold to account anyone found guilty of a crime.
Footage of the incident, apparently filmed through the lens of a sniper scope or binoculars, shows a Palestinian being tracked alongside the Gaza border.
With no visible weapon in hand, the Gazan is seen crouching near the barbed wire security fence, meters away from another Palestinian.
Moments later, members of the IDF unit can be heard cheering as the Palestinian falls to the ground from the sniper’s bullet, with one soldier exclaiming: “Whoa! What a video! YES! Son of a bitch. What a video!” “Whoa, hit him in the head,” another serviceman remarks.
The clip was shared widely on the messaging applications WhatsApp before surfacing online Monday morning.
It remains unclear if the Palestinian was killed.
THE IDF said in a statement that “in regards to the video currently circulating, the event depicted apparently occurred a number of months ago. The incident is being reviewed and will be thoroughly investigated.”
“We are encouraged by the IDF’s swift decision to investigate the actions depicted in this disturbing video, and by the condemnations made by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum,” StandWithUs CEO Roz Rothstein told The Jerusalem Post
“We believe in the ability of Israel’s democratic institutions to hold anyone who violates the laws and ethics of the IDF accountable,” she added.
American Jewish Committee spokeswoman Avital Leibovich said that she was confident an IDF probe would publicly reveal the facts of the incident.
“I can assure you that soldiers do not receive any instructions to open fire at people unless there is a clear danger to their lives or to infrastructure that can lead into severe action,” the retired IDF officer said.
She added: “I trust the IDF will publish the outcome of its investigation and we will know more then.”
Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, told the Post
that while “mistakes may happen even by Israel’s most moral army in the world,” the fundamentalist terrorist organization Hamas is ultimately “responsible for any deaths that occur” along the Gaza border.
Meanwhile, the Anti-Defamation League said in a pithy statement that “we welcome IDF statements that they will be investigating this very troubling video.”
In the moments before the shooting occurred, the commander in the unit can be heard telling the sniper that “the minute he stops, you drop him.”
“Do you have a bullet in the chamber?” the commander then asks. “Are you [trained] on him?” The sniper initially replies that he does not have a clear shot due to the barbed wire fencing. The commander also momentarily stalls the sniper, telling him that “there’s a little kid” to close to the target.
Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh posted a scathing denouncement of the shooting to Twitter and called for an immediate trial for the soldiers involved.
“A video that horrifies the mind. Calls of joy at taking a life and what appears to be the execution of someone who did not threaten anyone,” Odeh wrote via the social media site.
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