Thursday, June 20, 2019

BíTselem: Israeli soldiers deleted footage of killing


By J.J. Rhies - April 15, 2019
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [settler violence]

 

An investigation conducted by B’Tselem, a leading Israeli human rights NGO, found that Israeli soldiers destroyed video evidence of the fatal shooting of a Palestinian earlier in April.

 

On the morning of April 3, Muhammad 'Abd al-Fatah, 23, married with a daughter, was throwing rocks at cars near the village of Beita when a settler opened fire on him, being joined shortly thereafter by a second gunman.  

 

'Abd al-Fatah died of his wounds after being transported to Beilinson Hospital in Israel.

 

A man working in a nearby shop was also wounded by the gunmen’s fire. He was treated in Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus and released days later.   

 

According to a B’Tselem press release, at least eight Israel Defence Forces (IDF) personnel checked the security footage of two nearby shops after the incident.

 

“They dismantled a DVR in one of the shops and left. About twenty minutes later, the soldiers returned ... , reinstalled the DVR and watched the footage. Two soldiers filmed the screen with their mobile phones. They then erased the footage from the DVR and left,” the press release said.

 

B’Tselem also said that earlier media reports alleged that 'Abd al-Fatah was shot by settlers after attempting to stab a father and his daughter.

 

Those claims were not substantiated by B’Tselem, however.

 

The Israeli NGO’s investigation found that 'Abd al-Fatah threw a rock at the car of a settler, Yehoshua Sherman, prompting him to pull over.

 

Sherman fired two gunshots from within his vehicle, and then got out of the car and continued shooting at 'Abd al-Fatah, who hid behind dumpsters across the street.

 

Only minutes after Sherman’s vehicle stopped, a truck driver pulled over and joined the settler.

 

The two armed men “fired more shots at 'Abd al-Fatah, who was lying wounded on the ground,” according to B’Tselem.

 

“There was clearly no justification whatsoever for the additional shots that Sherman and the truck driver fired at [him] when he was already lying injured on the ground,” the statement added.

 

IDF soldiers then pulled up in jeeps and threw stun grenades to disperse the growing crowd of onlookers.  

 

Israel has not launched an investigation into the killing of Muhammad 'Abd al-Fatah.

 

B’Tselem said Israeli soldiers “did nothing to arrest the two settlers” at the time, instead addressing “the urgent task of eliminating any footage of the incident, to ensure that the truth never comes to light and the shooters would not face any charges or be held accountable in any way.”

 

According to a 2015 report by Yesh Din, an Israeli human rights NGO, there is a 1.9 percent chance that a complaint filed by a West Bank Palestinian will end with the conviction of a suspect.  

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