Haaretz reveals: Non-combat IDF soldier opened fire at deadly Nakba Day protest

The soldier took part in the incident in which 2 Palestinians were killed even though he was not authorized to do so; the soldier was suspended, but an investigation did not find evidence proving he was responsible.

A screengrab from the CNN footage.
A screengrab from the CNN footage. /
By Chaim Levinson and Amos Harel
Published 19:38 28.05.14

A probe into the deaths of two Palestinians killed in the West Bank village of Bitunia during a Nakba Day demonstration earlier this month took a dramatic turn on Wednesday, when a CNN video clip showed a non-combat soldier, who had accompanied his comrades on the mission, firing what appeared to be a rubber bullet during the incident.

The soldier, a member of an IDF communications division, apparently fired his bullet at around the same time that one of the Palestinians, Nadim Nuwara, 17, was killed. However, the IDF has found no evidence proving that this soldier's bullet caused Nuwara's death. The details of the case are under a military court gag order.
 
Non-combat soldiers who accompany combat units on such missions are unauthorized to use their weapons, unless shot at or under direct threat. The soldier, whose identity was discovered during the IDF’s operational inquiry into the incident, has been suspended from his job.
 
The operational inquiry is still ongoing, and the Military Investigative Police have also opened an investigation.
 
The IDF still does not know exactly what caused the deaths of Nuwara and another Palestinian, Mohammed Salameh, during the May 15 demonstration. Border Police officers were patrolling at the time, with an Artilley Corp unit present as back up.
 
The IDF has acknowledged that its troops fired rubber bullets during the incident – a fact confirmed by footage from both local security cameras and journalists. But the two Palestinians were apparently killed when they were relatively far away from the troops, which would seem to indicate that live fire was used. Yet the soldiers, officers and border policemen present at the scene have all denied that any live bullets were fired.
 
Last Thursday, a week after the incident occurred, the belated broadcast of footage taken by a CNN cameraman seemed to shed new light on what happened. That footage showed one member of a group of border policemen firing at the Palestinians. The camera then showed the Palestinians evacuating Nuwara, who was hit by a bullet in the chest and died of his wounds soon afterward.

Bitunia shooting
Palestinian kneels by body of Mohammed Abu Daher, killed in clash with IDF in Bitunia, May 20, 2014. / Photo by AP

The CNN video shows a soldier wearing the green IDF uniform, a different shade than the Border Police uniform. His sleeves are rolled up in a way that cannot be done on Border Police uniforms, and his helmet lacks the plastic shield of Border Police helmets.

The footage also shows the Border Police commander at the scene taking the rifle away from the soldier immediately after he fired the rubber bullet. The Border Police had been tasked with controlling the demonstration, with an IDF artillery unit present as back-up.

The belated revelation that this soldier opened fire during the incident reveals a problem that emerged during the second intifada (2000-05): Specialists from other units - from drivers to dog handlers, violated orders - who were attached to operational forces tasked with containing violent demonstrations or conducting arrests behaving inappropriately.

The fact that the specialist was not fully subordinate to the operational chain of command in the field makes it harder for field commanders to supervise his activities. Yet he is also far from his regular unit commanders back at base, which means they cannot keep a close eye on him either.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in response: “A Military Police investigation has been opened into the matter. When it is finished, its findings will be sent to the military prosecution for an opinion.”

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  • 19.
    Shame on US, shame on all...
    Live bullets against kids (sons, brothers) with stick and stones...
  • 18.
    Maybe shooting at kids makes a guy feel as if he was a man?
  • 17.
    IDF White Wash
    Shameful , the guy needs to be given the death penalty for what he did.
  • 16.
    "Hi. Say, want to shoot some kids? Here use my rifle."
  • talknic, ever bother to think about your infatuation with our country? We do continue to thrive. Why does that cause you so much pain?
  • I'd like our country to adhere to Internaional Law, the UN Charter and relevant conventions and live in peace. Not as as an Occupying Power
  • Because US tax money pays for Israel's crimes?
    simple.
  • Nobodt loves colonial aprtheid-- ask South Africa.
    And, ask Americans if we want to fund it.
  • 15.
    He will be given a token sentence, head patted, and sent out of prison
    as usual the criminals are never held accountable.
  • The sentence will be tougher than that! No dessert for a week!
  • 14.
    So now Non Combatant Members of IDF are suspended
    When they are clearly an accessory to murder. I am sure that will increase support and love for Israel globally! It makes good people want to vomit.
  • 13.
    Why doesn't the ADL talk about hatred like this?
    Yes, there are reasons why people don't like Israelis. And, yes, there are beautiful Israelis who consider Palestinians to also be human beings who deserve justice. Anti-anyone is just as bad as anti-Semitic.
  • 12.
    Total Whitewash
    Unbelievable We see on the film that only people that had lethal weapons firing at this protest where IDF personnel, are they now trying to say some one else was firing between the soldiers and the protesters.This was an execution of two unarmed children being none treating the IDF unit. The shots were fired after protest was finished. Pure Murder.
  • 11.
    CNN - Mass media US outing Israeli coverup ... not something you see every day!
  • 10.
    Reckless disregard for human life
    It is easy to match a bullet to a muzzle- a routine investigation that the FBI has a great expertise in carrying out. This lack of discipline and using Palestinians for target shooting is at the core of the IDfF and Border Police implementation of Israel's policy to drive the Palestinian out. Hopeless.
  • Israel doesn't know how to do ballistic fingerprinting?
  • 9.
    So the bullet left after IDF the rifle as rubber bullet and arrived to the body as a metal bullet
    Non combat soldier "accompanied" his buddies and was not authorized to fire rubber bullets he had got from somewhere. And the investigation found that he was not responsible. Does IDF believe that the rest of the world are idiots who believe that rambling provided to us?
  • It only "appears to be rubber bullets" because the attachment was seen fitted to the rifles
    But the attachment is designed so that you don't have to remove it in order to fire a "real" bullet - you simply have to change the ammo clip. So seeing the attachment on the end of the rifle doesn't tell "prove" that the soldier is firing rubber-bullets - you need to look at the results, and the results in this case make it clear that live rounds were fired.
  • 8.
    IDF Killers
    No matter how the rationalizations are formulated the history of IDF brutality is well known, e.g. Cast Lead. Murders of Palestinians go unpunished. The stain remains no matter how much white wash is applied.
  • 7.
    Haaretz investigation should focus on what exactly means Hamas/PA unity government!Do they white wash terror now or not?
  • Accept Responsibility For Yourself!!
    It is easy to pass the blame. No one can justify the killing of Innocents on either side.
  • 6.
    Blame the victim
    We are so used to the IDF investigations when it comes to the murdering of palestinian civilians. The palestian victim whether alive or dead is to blame. so what is the difference?
  • 5.
    So, now the IDF is saying that it accepts "walk ons"?
    It would appear that "most disciplined army in the world" allows anyone to simply walk onto the field and join the game.
  • 4.
    what was the exact range from the person who shot the rubber bullet?
    From what i understand if it was less then 50 meters the bullet even though rubber can be lethal as its velocity is still rather high.
  • No, it was well over 100 metres away and, no, it wasn't a rubber bullet.
    The former is obvious from the CNN video, and the latter is obfuscation caused by the rifle being fitted with the rubber-bullet attachment. But a rifle can still fire a normal round even with that attachment, and in this case that is what happened i.e. the soldier had the attachment on his rifle, but no rubber-bullets loaded in it. He simply.... used his rifle, and the bullet simply..... fired as normal.
  • 3.
    Another IDF whitewash
    I lnew it. As usual, another IDF whitewash. Typical.
  • 2.
    The two Palestinians killed were CHILDREN
    One thing is sorely missing from this article: the two Palestinians killed were CHiLDREN. Anyone under the age of 18 is considered a child in international law. The victims were 15 and 16.
  • international law means nothing.
    The only time international law comes into play is when both states are signatories of the the rome statute or if the UNSC calls for an investigation. Since the USA will veto any resolution and the fact that Palestine is not a member of the ICC.. and even then both sides have to ask for the ICC to take over... leads to quotation of internaional law is pointless
  • @ben: It was a crime when Nazi Germany oppressed and killed Jews it had deemed to be "not citizens".
    I assure you this act would be prosecutable as well in spite of your apparent double standard. Besides, I'm AMAZED that you continue to believe the USA will issue a blanket veto at UNSC to protect Israel from it's responsibility for any crime it committs. How did you become so arrogant?
  • Israel is a signatory of the convention on the Rights of Children and therefore considers as children anyone under 18 year old
    The two Palestinian Teens who were killed were children.
  • Nonsense ben. The ICC website explains itself very simply and clearly AND we can see the cases now before it
  • Nope! Palestine may, and should invite the ICC. The ICC
    has jurisdiction over all occupations.
  • 1.
    So maybe the film wasn't a fake
    Everyone involved in premature public announcements saying the film was fake should be fired. They do irreparable harm to the trust people who want to love Israel want to have in her.
  • All four of the films turned out to be genuine and incriminating.
  • The Al Dura video was also compelling and caused a tidal wave of outrage until proven a fake. So was Jenin-Jenin production.
  • they found a german investigating team and paid big bucks to say so
    but claims not to be zio in Canada so he wont make aliyah :)
  • Nope! The Al-Durrah vid French verdict was overturned. The murder
    and the vid proved to be genuine. See the "60 Mintues" expose that was on US TV.