Videos: Israeli army shoots 3 Palestinians, killing 1 in West Bank

AP , Wednesday 10 Jan 2024

Security camera video from a West Bank village shows a young man standing in a central square when he is suddenly shot and drops to the ground. Two others rushing to his aid are also hit, leaving a 17-year-old dead, moments before Israeli military jeeps roll in.

Beit Rima
In this grab taken from security camera footage in the early hours of Friday, Jan. 5, 2024, Israeli soldiers approach three men they had shot, in the occupied West Bank village of Beit Rima. One, a teen, later died. AP


An Associated Press review of the video and interviews with the two wounded survivors showed Israeli soldiers opened fire on the three when they did not appear to pose a threat. One of the wounded Palestinians was shot a second time after he got up and tried to hop away.

The fatal shooting in the village of Beit Rima last week is the latest in a series of incidents in which soldiers appeared to fire without provocation, a trend Palestinians say has worsened since the outbreak of Israel's war on Gaza three months ago.

The Israeli military said troops entered Beit Rima overnight Thursday into Friday in what it described as a “counter-terrorism operation.” It said troops fired at suspects who threw explosives and firebombs at them.

The video, obtained by the AP from a local smoke shop, does not show anyone throwing explosives.

After reviewing the footage, a military spokesperson said soldiers reported that one of the Palestinians — visible kneeling in front of an object just outside the frame — was igniting a Molotov cocktail when he was shot.

The video, however, shows that the first shot does not hit the kneeling man, but rather another Palestinian man, Nader Rimawi. Nader told the AP that the object was a stack of cardboard boxes and scraps of paper that 17-year-old Osaid Rimawi had gathered and was preparing to light to keep the men warm.

In interviews with the AP, the wounded village residents denied having thrown explosives and said the shootings, about 2 a.m. Friday, were unprovoked.

Two of the six Rimawi brothers were in the town square when word spread that Israeli soldiers were in the village. They said they were aware of the army presence, but that there had been no confrontations. “We were with the young men standing at the roundabout of the town,” said Mohammed Rimawi, 25. “We started looking around as we were standing and not doing anything.”

The half-hour security camera video begins about 20 minutes before the shootings with men gathering in small groups, walking in and out of the frame as cars come and go. Some men gesture elsewhere in the village.

The crowd in the frame eventually thins to under 10 men. Then they scatter as a shot hits Mohammed’s brother, 29-year-old Nader, in the left leg.

The video shows Mohammed running to help before being shot.

“We saw a sniper who started shooting. He shot him. I went to help him. Then he shot me,” said Mohammed, who was struck by a bullet in his right hip.

The video shows Osaid rushing to aid them as he slips something into his pocket. He is quickly shot and later dies of his wounds. His brother, Islam Rimawi, later told AP that he found a lighter, 20 shekels ($5.36), and a pack of cigarettes in Osaid’s pocket.

Mohammed was able to crawl away, but the other two were left rolling on the ground. Nader stood up and attempted to hop away, before again collapsing to the ground. Speaking from his hospital bed days later, Nader said he collapsed after being shot in his right leg.

Apart from Israeli troops carrying guns, no weapons are visible throughout the video. The shooter is not visible either.

The video showed four armored Israeli vehicles arriving about 2 minutes after the shooting and roughly a dozen soldiers getting out, guns prone. They gathered around Mohammed. One soldier prodded Osaid with his foot. Within 4 minutes, the soldiers left the wounded Palestinians on the ground and drove away, ignoring the stack of boxes and declining to arrest them.

Shortly after, Osaid — a high school student studying to become a barber — was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Nader underwent surgery Sunday for injuries to his thigh. Mohammed has been released from the hospital but is unable to put weight on his right leg. He limps around the family’s small ornate home in Beit Rima — a village of about 4,000 people north of the city of Ramallah — with the aid of a metal walker.

The military did not respond when asked if soldiers had violated military policy and did not say whether there would be an official investigation.

The Israeli rights group B’Tselem said that even if questionable shootings are caught on camera and investigated by the military, they rarely result in indictments.

“Cases like these happen quite regularly, but no one’s hearing about them,” said Dror Sadot, a spokesperson for the group. “The military will say that it is opening an investigation. And this investigation will last for years, probably without any media covering it. And then it will be washed down the drain.”

Human rights groups have previously presented cases in which soldiers opened fire without their lives being in danger, in apparent violation of the military’s rules of engagement.

Sadot said her organization has seen an unprecedented level of violence from soldiers and settlers in the West Bank since the war broke out. The West Bank is experiencing one of the deadliest phases on record, according to United Nations monitors.

Beit Rima resident Ahmed Rimawi, whose two brothers were wounded in the shooting, said he believes soldiers have become more aggressive since the start of the war. In the past, they would initially fire stun grenades to disperse crowds in the village. Now, he said, “they open fire directly on people.”

The Palestinian health ministry says at least 340 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank since Israel's war on Gaza began on 7 October, as Israel has tightened its grip on the territory through near-nightly, often deadly, raids.

In Gaza, Israel's relentless bombardment and ground invasion has killed over 23,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online

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