New Footage in Hebron Shooting Shows Knife Kicked Closer to Slain Palestinian Assailant

Prosecution says well-known Jewish resident of Hebron was on the scene and captured on video moving the weapon next to the body after the Palestinian was killed.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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A screenshot from one of the new videos from the incident in Hebron, presented in court on Wednesday, June 1, 2016.
A screenshot from one of the new videos from the incident in Hebron, presented in court on Wednesday, June 1, 2016.Credit: Screenshot/B'Tselem and Physicians for Human Rights
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

New videos have emerged from the scene in Hebron where Israeli soldier and medic Sgt. Elor Azaria shot and killed a Palestinian attacker who was already subdued and lying on the ground in March. The footage released Wednesday shows one of those present at the scene kicking the Palestinian's weapon closer to his body after Azaria had already shot him in the head.

The video was submitted as evidence in a military court in Jaffa Wednesday where military police identified one man in the footage as Ofer Ohana, a well-known Jewish resident of Hebron and a Magen David Adom ambulance driver.

In one clip, according to police, Ohana pointed out the knife on the ground which lay some distance from the Palestinian's body. In another new video, the knife was kicked and slid across the ground, bringing it significantly closer to the assailant's body.

According to military police, it was Ohana who kicked the knife and he was at the scene when Azaria shot the Palestinian, before which Ohana was caught on film yelling, "the dog is moving," referring to Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, the Palestinian who had tried to stab Israeli soldiers before Azaria arrived on the scene.

Military prosecutors took a statement from Ohana and confiscated his phone after filing a related warrant request in court.

The prosecution also continued making their case against Azaria, who is being tried for manslaughter, saying that in footage from the scene, he "doesn't look on guard, doesn't warn of any danger and doesn't approach the terrorist. All his behavior is mellow."

Azaria was also said to have called twice to Adi Kider, a lawyer from the Honeinu organization, before a meeting with the Kfir Brigade commander after the incident. Honeinu is known for providing legal defense to Jewish settlers and other Israelis accused in high-profile cases involving Palestinian complainants.

According to the prosecution, Azaria only made the claim that he had shot the Palestinian out of fear that his body was armed with explosives after his conversation with Kider, on his way to be questioned.

One minute after the shot, at 8:34 A.M., Azaria sent a message to his father, saying that "We had an attack. My friend was wounded and killed a terrorist. I killed the second terrorist." At 1:00 P.M., Azaria spoke with attorney Yossi Boker for 10 minutes by telephone and after another 15 minutes spoke with Honeinu's Kider for the first time. Just half-an-hour afterward, at 2:00 P.M., Azaria called Kider for a second time.

Testimony is expected to be heard in court over the course of June and July, when Kfir's brigade commander and Azaria's battalion commander are expected to take the stand.

Last week, a military court judge rejected the defense's claim of discrimination and selective enforcement and turned down the related request that the prosecution provide information about other similar cases.

“Without ruling on the issue, I would say that given the cases cited by the defense and the military prosecution’s response, I don’t think the petitioner has, at the present time, submitted enough prima facie evidence substantiating its claim of selective enforcement to justify obliging the prosecution to give the defense information about other cases,” he wrote.

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