A graphic video that appears to show an Israeli soldier shooting a wounded Palestinian man in the head, moments after the man had stabbed a different soldier, has put an already tense West Bank neighborhood on edge.
A human rights volunteer took the video Thursday morning as he witnessed a stabbing attack near the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood in the southern occupied West Bank. He sent the video to the group B’Tselem, which published it online.
The video begins moments after an Israeli soldier had been stabbed by two Palestinian men, just before Israeli settlers were due to hold a parade celebrating the festival of Purim.
The soldier is wheeled on a stretcher into a waiting ambulance, while one of the Palestinian men accused of the attack, Fatah Sharif, 21, lies on the ground after already being shot once. He is alive and moving his head, but appears to pose no threat to Israeli forces.
“This terrorist is still alive, this dog,” a voice can be heard saying.
After two minutes a soldier approaches Sharif. A gunshot can be heard as a van moves slightly in front of the camera. When it passes, Sharif is seen lying motionless, with his head tilted back in a pool of blood.
A second Palestinian, Ramzi Alkasrawi, 20, was also shot dead by soldiers during the attack.
Two other soldiers stood nearby and did not appear to provide medical assistance.
The soldier who was wounded in the initial stabbing attack was taken to hospital in moderate condition.
Israeli military spokesman Peter Lerner said it was a “grave incident” and the soldier who shot the Palestinian in the head had been arrested and detained. After a preliminary investigation, they “found the soldier breached military practice and values,” he said.
Lerner said there would be a military police investigation into the soldier who shot Sharif in the head, along with a wider investigation into the other soldiers present and those that gave orders.
The video supports claims by Palestinian and international human rights groups, including Amnesty International, that Israeli forces have shot and killed Palestinians who carried out -- or were suspected of carrying out -- stabbing attacks, even when they posed no further threat.
A spokeswoman for B’Tselem, Sarit Michaeli, said it was clear from the video that a soldier had executed a wounded Palestinian.
“This happens in plain view of many other soldiers and officers, who do not seem to take any notice,” she said. “The soldiers and medical teams are seen in the video treating the lightly injured soldier while ignoring the two seriously injured youths.”
Since October last year when an upturn in violence between Israelis and Palestinians began, B’Tselem has reported on what it called the disproportionate use of force on suspected assailants.
Only one case the group documented has been investigated. An Israeli policeman shot a 16-year-old Palestinian girl 11 times and killed her after she stabbed a man in the arm in central Jerusalem.
That police officer was not found to have breached protocol.
Shuttleworth is a special correspondent.