Video: Settlers firing at Palestinians

B'Tselem releases video footage from 2-hour incident between Yitzhar settlers, Asira al-Qibliya Palestinians, as IDF watches.

May 20, 2012 22:44
3 minute read.
Screenshot of settler, Palestinian clash

Screenshot of settler, Palestinian clash 370. (photo credit: Screenshot)


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Palestinian video footage published Sunday showed settlers shooting at stone throwing Palestinians as IDF soldiers stand by.

The footage showed moments from a two-hour incident that began around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, in which clashes occurred between settlers from Yitzhar and Palestinians from the village of Asira al-Qibliya in an area between the two West Bank communities.

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The non-governmental group B’Tselem sent some of the footage to the media, which included three separate links to YouTube videos shot by village volunteers for its organization. The video has yet to be made publicly available on YouTube.

Yitzhar spokesman Avraham Binyamin said that the settlers were security personnel for the Yitzhar settlement whose lives were endangered by the Palestinians.

During the event, Fathi Asayira, 24, of Asira al-Qibliya was shot in the face, according to Sarit Michaeli of B’Tselem.

He was taken to a hospital in Nablus where he is recovering from his wounds, she added.

The first and second videos depict a standoff between Palestinians and settlers in a field of overgrown semi-dried grass. Palestinians some of whom are holding sticks throw stones at four settler men, who wear white T-shirts.

Two carry riffles strung around their necks and one has a shotgun.

A fire burns behind the men and black smoke billows into the air. A man who appears to be a settler can be seen trying to beat the fire out with a shovel. Three soldiers stand next to the settlers with guns.

The settlers can be shown shooting at the Palestinians who seem to be only a short distance away. The settler with a shot gun, crouched one knee, aimed and fired.

One Palestinian appears to be wounded by the gunfire and is carried away by other nearby Palestinians.

The IDF acknowledged that a shooting incident had occurred and said it was investigating the matter. It added that the videos did not present the entire narrative of what occurred, but it did not elaborate. It said that security forces had responded to the incident and had taken steps to separate both sides and bring an end to the incident.

According to B’Tselem, settlers lit fire to the grassy field near the village, came within a short distance of the homes and threw rocks. It noted that one of the settlers brandished a Tavor rifle used by the infantry and speculated that one of the men was a soldier on leave.

In addition, it noted that one of the settlers wore a blue cap, similar to those worn by police. B’Tselem added that Palestinians had thrown stones in response.

When the IDF and Border Police arrived, B’Tselem said, the officers did not force the settlers to leave the area and did little to stop the situation.

B’Tselem lodged a complaint with the police and asked that it arrest the settlers. It further asked the IDF to investigate the incident and charged that the officers had not acted to protect the Palestinians.

Avraham, in turn, said the incident started after Palestinians lit fire to fields near the settlements. He added that this is the third week in a row that such fires have been set.

When firefighters and security personnel from the settlement descended to try and put out the flames, they were attacked by an “inflamed mob” of Palestinians who stoned them.

The security personnel, whose lives were endangered, shot to protect themselves, he said.

Late Saturday night, Binyamin set out a video from the incident, also shot by a Palestinian and posted on line, which showed soldiers standing among Palestinians who threw stones at the settlers.

He added that there is a long history of Palestinian violence against the settlement, and that in the past Palestinians had set fire to a home on the outskirts of the settlement and stabbed a nine-year old boy.

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