An Israeli soldier was videotaped hitting a 15-year-old Palestinian on the head with his rifle in the West Bank city of Hebron in November.
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The video, obtained by Haaretz on Thursday, show the incident that took place on Shuhada Street, one of the city's main arteries. The teen, who asked that his name not be published, was taken to the hospital for treatment but quickly released.
The footage, filmed by a researcher for the Israeli NGO B’Tselem, shows the soldier and the teen surrounded by other people. The soldier brandishes his rifle at the boy, and immediately afterward, the boy grabs his own head, as if in pain. Later, he is seen lying on the ground with blood streaming from his head.
The footage shows that no demonstration was taking place in the area at that time.
The incident occurred on the weekend of the annual Torah reading describing the matriarch Sarah’s burial in Hebron, an event which always draws tens of thousands of Israeli Jews to the city. As a result, there was beefed-up security.
That day also featured an Israeli march from the Jewish neighborhood of Tel Rumeida to another section of Hebron. According to B’Tselem, the army closed all the shops along the marchers’ route and forbade Palestinians to enter the area.
Eyewitnesses said that shortly before the beating occurred, some Israelis had gone to the café where the boy’s brother works and removed a Palestinian flag hanging nearby. Several Palestinians, including the teen, shouted at them angrily, and it was then that one of the soldiers hit the boy.
The Yesh Din organization has filed a complaint with the military prosecution and demanded that it open an investigation against the soldier.
In response to a Haaretz query about the incident, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit stated the following: "On Saturday, November 11, 2017, at the entrance of Otniel Ben Knaz tomb, a confrontation developed between Palestinians and settlers, during which the Palestinians hurled rocks towards the settlers and an army force at the scene.
"The video documents only partially a confrontation between a Palestinian who participated in the demonstration and one of the soldiers. The Palestinian was mildly injured, initially treated by a military force and transferred to the care of the Red Crescent.
"The incident will be investigated by the commanders of the soldier."