Israeli Soldiers Filmed Beating, Kneeling on Neck of Palestinian During Arrest in West Bank

Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf
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The confrontation in Hebron in early June.
The confrontation in Hebron in early June.Credit: B'Tselem
Hagar Shezaf
Hagar Shezaf

An Israeli soldier was filmed at the beginning of the month hitting a Palestinian with a rifle butt during an arrest, while another soldier is seen kneeling on the Palestinian man's neck.

The Israeli army said that the Palestinian man was arrested after acting violently towards the soldiers following a routine examination and had pulled at the one soldier's weapon, but that the film footage also shows that some of the soldiers had acted in violation of standing rules.

In the video, which was filmed in the West Bank town of Hebron, several Jewish settlers are seen assisting the Israeli security forces by clearing Palestinian residents away from the scene. One settler was filmed spraying pepper spray at Palestinians who had congregated in the area.

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The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem obtained the footage from a group called Hebron Human Rights Defenders, among other sources.

B'Tselem video

At one point in the confrontation, a Palestinian threw a glass bottle at those at the scene, prompting a soldier to fire in the air while another soldier aimed a rifle at Palestinians, including women and children, according to Araf Jaber, a Palestinian resident of the neighborhood. Jaber, who said he was sprayed in the face with pepper spray by a settler, identified himself as the brother of the man under arrest.

"The police were at the scene, but didn't do anything against the settlers who had sprayed us with pepper spray," Jaber alleged, adding that his brother spent six days in detention before being released on a 3,000 shekel ($925) bond.

In a response for this article, the army said that the Palestinian who was arrested had pulled at a soldier's weapon and tore the weapon's strap, after which "the combat soldiers arrested him through the use of force due to the detainee's unruly behavior and resistance."

"A violent disturbance of the peace developed on the part of several Palestinian residents, including the throwing of glass bottles and stone-throwing at the force," the army said. "At a certain stage, security personnel from the sector were also present and they assisted the [army] force to prevent an escalation of the incident," the statement added. "In the footage, in the course of the incident, some of the soldiers are seen acting not in accordance with the rules, which were [later] made clear to all of the forces in the sector."

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