Israeli settlers attempted to break into the Hebron home of activist Imad Abu Shamsiyya and threw stones at the house yesterday evening, in revenge attacks after he filmed an Israeli soldier shooting a maimed Palestinian who lay motionless on the ground.
In a rare move move, the soldier was convicted of manslaughter earlier this week, in large part due to the damning footage captured by Abu Shamsiyya, amid a backdrop of what critics have called a culture of impunity for Israeli soldiers who are not held accountable for similar cases of apparent “extrajudicial executions” of Palestinians.
On Wednesday, the day of conviction, Abu Shamsiyya said he “feared for his life.
Since his footage went viral the day of the shooting back in March 2015, Abu Shamsiyya has been the target of violent settler incursions on his home and has received hundreds of death threats online.Leading up to the announcement of the verdict, Abu Shamsiyya said that members of Elor Azaria’s family – the soldier who was ultimately convicted for the shooting – broke into his home and “asked me to go to court and change my testimony”.
He said he had video footage proving the incursion took place. Israeli settlers returned to his home yesterday evening, he told Ma’an, and attempted to break into it.
Abu Shamsiya said settlers gathered around his house, and when they failed to break in, they hurled stones, causing minor damage.
He highlighted that large numbers of Israeli forces were present when the settlers attacked the house and soldiers intervened and drove away the attackers.
Abu Shamsiyya added that in March he had asked the Israeli army to him with protection from settlers, as death threats began pouring in on Facebook while others attempted to bribe him to change his witness testimony.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an they were looking into the reports of yesterday night’s attack.
The United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner last month condemned the “daily violations” of human rights and international law faced by activists and human rights defenders in the occupied Palestinian territory.
A “worrying number of complaints” have been filed by human rights activists to the UN in recent months, which have highlighted in particular the Israeli government practice of arbitrarily detaining Palestinian activists “as a direct result of their important work in their communities”.
“The right of all those who are seeking hope and participation in concrete, nonviolent action must be protected, particularly as we are seeing the deepening entrenchment of the Israeli occupation and the accompanying human rights violations,” the report said.