A video circulating on social media shows an Israeli soldier kneeling on an elderly Palestinian protester’s neck while arresting him during a demonstration in the occupied West Bank.
Khairi Hannoun, 65, told Wafa news agency that he was protesting against Israel’s plans to confiscate some 800 dunums (0.8 square kilometres) of land to build an illegal industrial park affecting several northern West Bank villages.
Local Palestinian forces said dozens of protesters suffered from tear gas inhalation after Israeli forces fired canisters in their direction and shot live rounds.
Journalists covering the event, organised by local nationalist forces and the Wall and Settlements Resistance Commission, were also attacked by Israeli soldiers and prevented from filming it, a Wafa correspondent said.
Palestinians and Israeli rights groups often accuse Israeli occupation forces of using excessive force to disperse Palestinian protests.
As the video circulating on social media shows, the father of five was wrestled to the ground until the soldier appeared to kneel on his neck and back while forcing him into handcuffs.
Users online expressed outrage comparing it with the case of George Floyd – an unarmed black man in America who was killed after a policeman knelt on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds, despite the victim’s pleas that he could not breathe.
What the occupation soldier did to me was the height of criminality. He didn’t care about my advanced age, he pressed his leg with all his might against my head and neck
Hannoun told Wafa.
“The Israeli soldiers hit me hard and one of them pressed his knee against my neck for a few minutes,” he said. “I stayed still to avoid more pressure on my neck, but people pulled me out.”
Hannoun also made the comparison in an interview with Palestinian media as he stated: “I tried to resist, but in a moment I felt that the earth was turning, and I immediately remembered what happened with the American George Floyd, who was killed in the same way by a spiteful American policeman.”
The Israeli military denied any wrongdoing but said the incident would be reviewed in the coming days, reported the Times of Israel.