Israeli ministers have defended a group of soldiers filmed laughing and cheering as a sniper appears to shoot an unarmed Palestinian man on the Gaza border.
The brief video appears to have been filmed by an Israeli soldier through a pair of binoculars and captures the moment a sniper shot an unidentified Palestinian near the border fence which separates Israel from Gaza.
The man is standing still in the video and does not appear to be armed. “Wow, what a video!” one of the soldiers cheers after the gunshot rings out. “That son of a b****”.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said the video was from December 22, 2017 and not from the recent wave of protests in Gaza, in which Israeli forces have killed 31 Palestinians since the end of March.
A spokesman said the Palestinian man who was shot was one of the leaders of “a violent riot” on the Gaza border and that troops fired on him only after trying to disperse protesters with tear gas and warning shots.
The military said the soldier’s decision to film the shooting and the coarse language used in the video “do not suit the degree of restraint expected of IDF soldiers and will be dealt with by commanders accordingly”.
The video clip was widely shared on social media and drew immediate condemnation from the Palestinians and human rights groups.
“This documented case of extrajudicial killing demands the world to end Israel’s impunity and highlights a further urgency for the International Criminal Court to open an immediate investigation,” said Saeb Erekat, a senior Palestinian official.
Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defence minister, praised the sniper but criticised the soldier who filmed the shooting.
“The sniper deserves a commendation, the photographer a court martial,” he said. “The IDF is the most moral army in the world, but when you’re at the front and facing tense situations, sometimes you let out those tensions.
“Judging soldiers because they are not expressing themselves elegantly while they are defending our borders is not serious,” said Naftali Bennett, the education minister and leader of the Right-wing Jewish Home party.
Other ministers also said the video was being blown out of proportion.
The video was published amid major tensions on the Gaza border. Palestinians have been staging weekly protests demanding what they refer to as the Right of Return, the right to return to homes they were displaced from in 1948.
The last two Friday protests have ended in bloodshed and more killings are expected as the protests continue.
Article Source : https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/04/10/israeli-ministers-defend-soldiers-filmed-cheering-sniper-shoots/