Man filmed shooting Palestinians taken to court

Yesh Din brings criminal complaint 3 years after state dropped charges.

ZE’EV BRAUDE 390 (photo credit: Channel 2)
(photo credit: Channel 2)
The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court is set to hear a criminal complaint on Sunday against Ze’ev Braude, a Kiryat Arba man who allegedly shot at Palestinians during a violent incident in Hebron, attorneys for the Palestinian complainant announced on Monday.
In July 2010, attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard from Yesh Din – Volunteers for Human Rights filed the criminal complaint on behalf of Hebron resident Hosni Abd el- Hai Matriya, who was wounded in the alleged incident, a year after the state announced its decision to drop charges against Braude, citing security reasons.
The move to file a koblana plilit, a criminal complaint prosecuted by a private citizen, is a highly unusual one, since almost all criminal cases in Israel are prosecuted by the state, which is considered both impartial and possessing the means to conduct a criminal investigation and proceedings.
Feldman said on Monday that the decision to file the criminal complaint had come after “law-enforcement agencies failed in their duty to protect the Matriya family.”
“The complaint is an act of civil defense,” he added.
B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories filmed the incident, which occurred during a series of violent incidents between Palestinians and settlers after the IDF on December 4, 2008, evacuated settlers from a three-story building in Hebron dubbed “Beit Hashalom.”
The video footage shows Braude, who was 51 at the time of the incident, hitting and pushing a Palestinian. Afterward, Braude was attacked by several more Palestinians and fired a shot. The injured Palestinian is shown falling to the ground, then getting up and throwing stones at Braude.
According to Issa Amro, a 28- year-old eyewitness and the Hebron coordinator of B’Tselem’s camera-distribution project “Shooting Back,” the incident happened after Braude and another man began arguing with Palestinians about their right to the land and the Palestinians told them to leave.
Attorney Ariel Atari, who represented Braude, said at the time that he and another Jewish man involved in the incident had acted in self-defense after being attacked by Palestinians holding rocks. Atari also said that Braude had fired into the air and noted that Braude had been taken to a hospital and given 36 stitches in a head wound after the incident.
Braude turned himself in to police after the incident. He was remanded in custody but later released to house arrest. In a remand hearing after the incident, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court said that although the events in which Braude had been involved were “grave,” not least because of the background of tension in the area, there were also questions regarding the conduct of the Palestinians involved, who had also been responsible for the outcome.
On December 10, 2008, the Jerusalem district attorney filed an indictment against Braude, though the Kiryat Arba man never stood trial.
In July 2009, months after the indictment, Defense Minister Ehud Barak signed a confidentiality certificate relating to evidence in the case that concerned Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) intelligence sources, those working for the organization and its units.
Braude’s legal team immediately moved to petition the High Court of Justice, demanding that state prosecutors reveal the secret evidence, which they said could help Braude’s defense. However, the State Attorney’s Office argued in court that disclosing the evidence would harm state security, and that the state would retract the indictment if the court ordered the evidence to be released.
In July 2009, after the High Court ruled in favor of Braude’s petition, the State Attorney’s Office dropped the charges against him.
The hearing will take place at 9 a.m. on Sunday in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court before Judge Yaron Mientkavich.