An incident, caught on film, that seems to show a soldier shooting a rubber bullet at a bound and blindfolded Palestinian, has been condemned by Israel’s defence minister.
The case was “grave and wrong” said Ehud Barak (photo, from cnn.net), adding that the military would exact the full extent of the law.
Human rights group B’Tselem released the footage on Sunday, which shows the detainee being held by one soldier while another fires at his legs at close range.
The rubber bullet hit his left big toe, said the Palestinian man.
The incident was filmed by a 14-year-old girl, on 7 July, from the window of her home in the town of Ni’lin.
An inquiry was conducted immediately afterwards, by the brigade commander responsible, but no action was taken, reports say.
Yet, on Sunday, after examining the footage, the Israeli military advocate general ordered military police to open an investigation.
In a statement, the incident has been called “grave” and in “direct contradiction” of its values, by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
On Monday, Mr Barak promised on television that those involved would be held to account.
“[The] incident was a grave and wrong one and is not indicative of the IDF’s norms. The military will exact the full extent of the law in this case”, he said.
“Warriors do not behave like this.”
Questions remained “about the edited parts” of the video, said earlier military spokeswoman Maj Avital Leibovitz. He was referring to a moment shortly after the weapon is fired, when the camera moves away briefly before showing the Palestinian detainee lying on the ground.
The girl had accidentally stopped filming when she was startled by the gunshot and continued as soon as she became aware she had pressed the stop button, said Sarit Michaeli, a spokesman for rights group B’Tselem.
The footage appeared to contradict a statement by the soldier’s commander, present at the scene, added the group.
Originally, the Israeli military said that the lieutenant colonel had been unaware of the incident and that the door of his patrol vehicle had blocked his line of sight.
But the footage seems to show him, holding the Palestinian detainee’s arm when the shot is fired. The commander told the soldier “shoot him, shoot him”, reported the Jerusalem Post.