B'Tselem video: IDF soldier head butts Palestinian

Rights organization films exchange between soldiers, Palestinians in Hebron; IDF: Palestinian violently attacked commander.

B'Tselem video of soldiers, Palestinians in Hebron 370 (photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
B'Tselem video of soldiers, Palestinians in Hebron 370
(photo credit: YouTube Screenshot)
A four-minute video, released Thursday evening by B’Tselem, shows a soldier head-butting and kicking a Palestinian teen the day before.
The IDF said it was investigating. But it noted that the video, which has time lapses, does not show the whole incident. “During routine activity in Hebron, a group of Palestinians refused to identify themselves,” the army said.
One of the Palestinians then attacked a commander who arrived on the scene, an IDF spokesman said. “This was not shown in the video.”
“On the face of it, it appears as if the video was edited in a way that was biased and does not represent the [entire] event,” he said.
The video was shot from an apartment above the scene, by Zidan Sharabati, a volunteer in the camera distribution project of B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories.
Initially six Palestinians, four of whom appeared to be younger than 15 years old, are seen standing next to a soldier at a military checkpoint near an apartment housing Jewish families, known as Beit Hadassah, in an area of Hebron under Israeli control.
The soldier holds out his arm and seems to point at one of the young Palestinians, as if to indicate that they should move back.
Thair Ghanam, 17, puts his hand on the soldier’s arm.
The soldier briefly places Ghanam’s arms behind his back, and then lets him go.
He then motions the group to head to the stone wall of a nearby building.
In the next shot, two soldiers can be seen pushing a Palestinian, apparently Ghanam, against the wall, who appears to be flailing his arms. The two soldiers pull him into the road, and one soldier pushes him down the road.
Ghanam has his hands up, and the soldier holds him by the collar and shakes him.
“Am I creating a disturbance?” Ghanam asks in Hebrew.
“You are creating a disturbance,” the soldier says, suddenly head-butting Ghanam.
“OK,” Ghanam says, in a calm voice. “I am creating a disturbance.”
Still holding him by the collar, the soldier stands him against the wall. Ghanam keeps repeating, “It’s OK.”
Then the soldier kicks him and tries to push Ghanam’s legs out from under him. The soldier then pushes Ghanam back onto the road, and appears to hold him by the ear.
Blood can be seen around Ghanam’s mouth. He manages to free himself from the soldier and walk away, with the soldier following.
In the next shot, Ghanam’s hands are tied behind his back and the soldier is walking him down the road.
In the last shot, the two are walking, and Ghanam is blindfolded. He is then put into an IDF jeep.
B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli denied IDF assertions that the video was edited.
But, she said, it is true that it was not shot in continuous sequence.
Sharabati, the volunteer who shot the film, did so in small digital files, Michaeli said. B’Tselem placed those files in sequence as they occurred into one video, she said. “We did not drop or cut any footage.”
According to Michaeli, both Ghanam and Sharabati claimed that none of the Palestinians assaulted the soldiers.
She noted that the IDF released Ghanam later that night. “If he was suspected of assaulting an officer, why was he released?” she asked.
Michaeli added that Ghanam was treated at Aaliya Hospital in Hebron for a broken nose.
The incident comes in the midst of a number of violent interactions between Palestinians and soldiers in the city.
On Thursday evening, the Border Police arrested a Palestinian woman in her 20s near the Cave of the Patriarchs. She tried to pepper-spray soldiers standing guard there. Border police arrested her and found that she was also carrying a knife. They said they feared she had planned to attack Jewish worshipers at the cave.