Israeli television last night broadcast a video showing a sniper shooting a Palestinian in the Gaza Strip as his fellow soldiers cheer and celebrate.
The video, which according to the Israeli army is authentic and shows an incident from a few months ago, corroborates claims made by Palestinians and human rights groups that the Israeli army opens fire on Palestinian civilians who do not pose any kind of threat.
As reported by Haaretz, in the video, a man is heard asking “Do you have a bullet in the barrel?” and saying “is it on him?” After the sniper shoots and hits the Palestinian, cries of enthusiasm are heard.“Wow, what a video! Yes!” a man shouts, who adds: “Son of a b—-. What a video, here, run and get him out of there. Of course, I filmed it.” Later, someone else adds: “Wow, someone was hit in the head”, “what a legendary video”, “he flew in the air”, and “get out, you sons of b——”.
Haaretz noted that “according to military protocol, all live fire directed at protests requires approval by the most senior leadership in the field, usually on instructions from a brigade commander or battalion commander”.
Responding to the video, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett refused to condemn the soldiers responsible. Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, meanwhile, told Israeli radio: “Was it so boring in this country over the last day that this video needs to receive such exposure?”
“It would have been better if the [soldiers’] happy reactions were not circulated,” he added, “but to judge them and conclude something there was wrong, is crazy.”
Another minister, Ofir Akunis, said the video would damage Israel’s image, but that the Palestinian shot in the video “is not an innocent civilian who is coming to seek peace. I’m sure of that”.
Likud MK Oren Hazan, meanwhile, tweeted: “What’s all the fuss about? it was noted in advance: anyone who approaches the fence, armed or not, is gonna get it. As it should be!” Hazan added that he hoped the video sends “a clearer message to the other side”.
MK Jamal Zahalka, of the Joint List, said the video is the rule, not the exception: “Israeli snipers killed unarmed Palestinian protesters in cold blood who were participating in a non-violent protest.”