B'Tselem asks IDF legal to investigate shooting of one of its activists

Group says activist was wearing high-visibility vest and standing at a distance from the conflict when he was shot.

An IDF soldier at  the West Bank security barrier. (photo credit: REUTERS)
An IDF soldier at the West Bank security barrier.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
B’Tselem on Wednesday requested the IDF legal division and the Judea and Samaria police to investigate the shooting of volunteer-worker Muhammad Basmaan Yassin on April 4.
A statement from the human rights group said that Yassin was hit by live fire while filming a conflict near Beitunya and the army’s Ofer base.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office responded on Thursday that “the IDF legal division has contacted the relevant commanders to clarify the circumstances of the incident. With completion of the review, they will study the specifics of the case, and if necessary, learn the required lessons.”
B’Tselem – The Israel Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories – said that Yassin was hit in his waist area that caused him internal injuries, including to his liver and kidneys.
The statement said that in general he has been bedridden in a Ramallah hospital, though he was able to leave his bed for the first time Tuesday.
The group said that a video it distributed showed Yassin wearing a shiny blue vest so he would be clearly visible, holding a camera and standing at a distance from the conflict.
Though the short video does not present context to the situation, the clip clearly shows Yassin standing in a flat area far from a group of security forces on a hill.
From its vantage point, there did not appear to be any violent response emanating from Yassin or other Palestinians nearby him at the moment he was shot. After being shot, he is carried to an ambulance and rushed off for medical care.
B’Tselem said it was still trying to clarify what kind of bullet struck him. It accused the IDF of using dangerous and improper ammunition for disbursing protests, though it said that the IDF has denied it.
The IDF legal division and B’Tselem have an ongoing rhetorical battle, which has reached the High Court of Justice, on whether the IDF’s rules of engagement violate international law and on whether officers in the field observe their own rules.
Part of the debate centers on whether an incident occurred in the context of a non-life-threatening protest, in which more civilian- friendly human rights law applies, or a life-threatening situation, in which case the laws of armed conflict could apply.