A Palestinian activists beaten with rifle butts by Israeli occupation forces while he was filming a protest has been awarded compensation by the government.
The settlement reached this week with a military prosecutor will see Amir Bitan, who was assaulted in 2016 while filming Palestinians targeted by illegal settlers while tending to their orchards, receive 10,000 shekels ($2,766) in compensation.
Soldiers beat Bitan, from Jerusalem, with rifle butts, fired rubber bullets at him and pepper-sprayed him by the illegal outpost Al-Khima in the northern Jordan Valley. The November 2016 incident was filmed by video. Soldiers also threw stun grenades; one is reported to have exploded near Bitan as he photographed the scene, as protesters began to evacuate the area.
Bitan had been filming a Palestinian protest next to the outpost, which has yet to be torn down despite a demolition order, Haaretz reported.
The November 2016 incident is said to have gone unchecked for about six months despite a complaint submitted by Bitan’s attorney to the military prosecutor. It was only after a suit was filed for damages against the state in the Jerusalem District Court that Israel finally begin to review the incident, initiating an investigation in September 2017, nearly a year later after it occurred.
Pro-Palestinian activists are regularly assaulted by Israeli forces. Last week a Norwegian campaigner was left with two bullet wounds after being shot by Israeli soldiers on two separate occasions within the same week.
The international status of the campaigners rarely serves as a protection as Israel regularly targets pro-Palestinian advocates and journalists claiming that they support incitement by standing alongside peaceful Palestinian protesters and documenting Israel’s crimes against civilians.
In June, Israeli ministers authorised a bill that would criminalise the filming of Israeli military activities, including soldiers assaulting unarmed Palestinian protesters if the intent was “to harm the morale of Israel’s soldiers or its inhabitants” or damage “national security”.