Israeli soldiers stand and watch as settlers fire on Palestinians

 

A leading Israeli human rights group yesterday released video footage apparently showing Israeli soldiers doing nothing to prevent militant settlers opening fire on Palestinian villagers with live ammunition.

B'Tselem, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, and the Palestinian Authority called for a full investigation into the incident in which a Palestinian was injured in the head after residents of the Jewish settlement of Yitzhar near Nablus – some of them armed and masked – raided the nearby village of Asira al-Qibliya.

At one point, a settler is seen crouching down and adopting a firing position with a pistol towards Palestinian protesters with soldiers in the vicinity. Immediately afterwards, Palestinian villagers are seen carrying the injured man Fathi 'Asira, 24, to safety.

B'Tselem said on Saturday at about 4.30pm, a "large group" of settlers descended on the outskirts of the village and threw stones at Palestinian homes. The group said one of the settlers had a "Tavor" rifle, normally used by only the military, arousing suspicion he may have been an off-duty soldier. Palestinian villagers arrived to confront the settlers and started throwing stones.

When soldiers and Border Police officers arrived, the firing of live ammunition is audible in the video, but it does not show the source.

The video shows three settlers, two apparently armed with assault rifles and one with a pistol, standing with a soldier amid stone throwing from both sides. B'Tselem says the video shows the settlers aiming their weapons at the Palestinians and firing.

B'Tselem added: "The video footage raises grave suspicions that the soldiers did not act to prevent the settlers from throwing stones and firing live ammunition at the Palestinians. The soldiers did not try to remove the settlers and are seen standing by settlers while they are shooting and stone throwing."

Yitzhar has a notably hard-line reputation and Israel's government halted funding for a Yeshiva – a Jewish educational institution – there last November after the Shin Bet intelligence agency reported that its students were carrying out acts of violence against Palestinians and security forces.

The Israeli military said yesterday the settlers and villagers "threw rocks at each other during a violent confrontation." Security forces had moved in to separate the parties "without casualties, using different riot dispersal means." Its statement added: "During the confrontation, live fire was used; the incident is currently being investigated by the division commander. That said, it appears that the video does not reflect the incident in its entirety."

A spokesman for the settlers told Israeli media that their "security squad" had come under a hail of stones while extinguishing fires lit by the Palestinians and that arms had been used in a "life-endangering situation."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
music
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Sport
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
art
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine