Israeli Border Policewoman Arrested on Suspicion of Shooting Palestinian for Fun

Judge says suspect shot the man, who was seriously wounded, 'as a dubious form of entertainment'

FILE PHOTO: Members of Israel's Border Police near Qalandiya checkpoint, West Bank, March, 2018.
Olivier Fitoussi

A woman in the Border Police was arrested Monday on suspicion of shooting a sponge-tipped bullet at a Palestinian man for fun near a West Bank checkpoint.

The incident occurred in May, when the policewoman, who is around 20, was on duty near the Al-Zaim checkpoint outside of Jerusalem. She allegedly shot the Palestinian for no apparent reason and seriously wounded him.

The Justice Ministry department that probes police misconduct learned about the incident while investigating another case in which members of the Border Police allegedly beat a Palestinian for no reason. The policewoman was arrested along with four colleagues who were with her at the time of the incident.

At Monday’s bail hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, Judge Elad Persky said the suspect apparently shot the Palestinian “as a dubious form of entertainment.” He ordered her held for another three days, while the other suspects were released with restrictions.

One of the policemen in the unit had filmed the incident on his phone. In the footage, the policemen can be heard shouting at the Palestinian in Arabic to go away. A few seconds later, the Palestinian was shot in the back with a sponge-tipped bullet.

Investigators suspect that the shooting occurred after the police officers returned from an operation during which they detained the Palestinian, thus he was still under their responsibility.

So far, however, the investigators have not been able to identify the Palestinian and are still trying to locate him.

The evidence includes text messages in which members of the policewoman’s unit boast about the incident. The woman allegedly admitted in the text messages that she shot the Palestinian.

She is also suspected of obstructing justice, since the Justice Ministry department believes she asked her comrades not to talk about the incident.

The policewoman denied having fired the bullet. “She doesn’t appear in the video clip in the department’s possession and insists that she’s telling the truth,” said her lawyer, Itzik Cohen.

The Border Police said the suspects were carrying out their compulsory army service and that the serious allegations against them “are not in accordance with the corps’ values.” If these allegations are proven true, the suspects will be kicked out of the Border Police, the statement added.