Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bentzi Gopstein, far-right settlers and followers of the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, have filed a complaint with Israeli police against Emad Abu Shamsiya, the Palestinian videographer who captured the execution of an incapacitated Palestinian suspect in Hebron.
Ben-Gvir is a lawyer who defends Jews suspected of vigilante attacks including the killers of the Dawabshe family. Gopstein is founder of the state-funded anti-miscegenation movement Lehava, and has called for churches to be burned.
In their letter to the police, they claim that Abu Shamsiya’s presence during the killing is no coincidence, but was coordinated with the alleged attack in order to capture damning video.
They write: “In our opinion the accumulation of cases and their number raises questions and it would be quite naive to think that we might be talking about a coincidence. It deserves to be checked and examined, is there coordination, between certain elements of those who carry out offenses and those who are present on the spot exactly at the same time? Under these circumstances, we ask you to order an opening of an investigation against Abu Shamsiya, and make a clarification also about the actions of B’Tselem.”
Ben Gvir and Gopstein allege the attackers and Abu Shamsiya somehow foresaw the execution and plotted accordingly. This would be laughable if it didn’t have serious implications. Abu Shamsiya has already received death threats from settlers.
This letter comes as a new video has surfaced showing Elor Azraya, the soldier who killed Abed al-Fattah Yusri al-Sharif in Hebron, shaking hands with far-right leader Baruch Marzel while al-Sharif’s body was being removed from the scene. Ben-Gvir has also served as Marzel’s attorney.
The video, which was also recorded by a B’Teselem fieldworker, shows the soldier walking behind his company commander as the two walk away from the body of Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, as other soldiers were covering it and lifting it on to a stretcher.
The soldier is then seen approaching a rescue worker and briefly speaking with him. Marzel approaches the two, and is seen shaking hands with the soldier who shot Sharif, who in turn pats him on the arm. In other photos taken by foreign press agencies, the soldier is seen smiling alongside Marzel.