Israeli Soldier to Palestinians in Hebron: We Protect Jews, Not You

IDF soldier tells Palestinian activist from Youth Against Settlements that the next chance he gets, he'll shoot him.

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Soldiers and Palestinians in Hebron
Soldiers and Palestinians in HebronCredit: Youth Against Settlements screenshot
Amira Hass
Amira Hass

Last Friday, two Israelis - a middle-aged woman and a young man - escorted by two armed IDF soldiers, showed up at the "Youth Against Settlements" community center in Hebron's Tel Rumeida. The Palestinian activists, who just days earlier had videotaped IDF soldier David Adamov cocking his rifle at a Palestinian teen in the area, did not know who they were.

The woman told the soldiers that stones had been thrown toward her a short time beforehand from the direction of the center. She was speaking with a Russian accent. Ahmed, one of the activists, replied to her in her mother tongue that "this is our land, our home. Go away, go home." Ahmed's small handheld camera captured the woman's expression of shock and disgust.

Ahmed's brother Issa Amro, one of the founders of YAS, enters the frame and is seen explaining to her and the soldiers in good Hebrew that there are cameras stationed on the roof of the center, so if someone had thrown rocks, it would have been recorded. He asked where the so-called rock throwers were standing. The woman responded that she doesn't remember, and when Issa looked surprised that she couldn't remember something that happened less than an hour earlier, she said: "I don't want to talk to you. I talk with the soldiers."

Issa asked the unwanted guests to leave the center, as it is private property. Ahmed says in Russian, less amicably, "Go home - quickly." One of the two soldiers turns to him and says: "Tone it down, shut your mouth." The soldier proceeds to tells Ahmed to shut up over and over. Then he asks Issa if they threw rocks and before he could respond, the soldier interrupts him saying "Shut up, lower your voice, I don't care about your cameras."

Once they are outside the premises of the center, the soldier turns to Ahmed: "OK, fine, cameraman, get the fuck inside." He then turns to the Israeli woman, "next time videotape it, and if we had known we would have broken their bones." Issa, who once again tried to get a word in, is quickly told to shut up, and the two proceed to enter a tense argument. Issa tells the soldiers the cameras are doing what the soldiers fail to do (protect them) and the soldier responds that he defends Jews, not him. When Issa insists it's his job to protect him as well, the solder curses him and says: "Who protects you? You fucker – the next chance I get I'll shoot you."

Since YAS began videotaping daily life in the Old City of Hebron in 2006, the level of violence by both settlers and soldiers has been reduced, according to both Palestinian residents and activists.

Murad Amro, one of the Palestinians that videotaped Adamov (known as "David HaNahlawi") for threatening to shoot the Palestinian teenager in Hebron last week, says that according to Israeli military law, the Palestinians are guilty until proven innocent. His colleague Jawad Abu Issa added that if it weren't for the cameras, Adamov could have easily shot them, maybe even killed them, and claimed he was in a life-threatening situation that justified it and his officers would have immediately backed him.

The IDF Spokesperson's Unit refused to respond. 

Video in Hebrew:

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