Ma’an reports that the man who shot the video documenting the execution of an incapacitated Palestinian suspect two days ago in Hebron has received death threats from Jewish settlers who occupy the city.
Israeli settlers on Friday gathered outside the home of a human rights worker in Hebron to hurl abuse at him, a day after he captured on camera an Israeli soldier’s killing of a wounded Palestinian that has sparked international outcry.
Ma’an states that the videographer, Imad Abu Shamsiya, said, “I now fear for my life and the life of my family. I’m afraid they might attack my house and do me harm.”
Human Rights Watch confirms the threats on Shamsiya, conveyed from settlers by soldiers to the photographer:
Imad Abu Shamsiyyeh.. told Human Rights Watch in a phone interview that Israeli forces had threatened him both at the scene and later, when he went to give a statement to the military. A few minutes after he filmed the shooting from the roof of a nearby building, he said, “more journalists gathered on the roof, and the Israeli soldiers noticed us. They pointed their guns at us and screamed at us to get down. Soldiers came into the building and told the [owner] not to allow people there or the family would pay the price.”
Abu Shamsiyyeh said that after B’Tselem shared the video with military investigators, the military asked him to give a statement. During questioning at a military office in Hebron, Abu Shamsiyyeh said he felt the interrogator was trying to intimidate him to make him say that he had not filmed the video:
“He told me, ‘How will you benefit from this video? It got a lot of publicity. Your name is known to everyone. Who is going to protect you and your family from right-wing Israelis? Remember you live in [Tel Rumeida], surrounded by Israeli settlers, who will be able to protect you there?’ I felt that I was being threatened. They took the original footage from me.”
Abu Shamsiyyeh said he had received two phone calls on March 24 from a Hebrew-speaker, calling from a private number, but did not understand what was said. “I feel in danger and my children are afraid,” Abu Shamsiyyeh told Human Rights Watch. “I’m not letting them out of the house. I’m afraid of walking in the street.”
Badia Dwaik of Human Rights Defenders in Hebron also confirms the report of threats to Shamsiya since the video was posted. He writes that Shamsiya is a volunteer with his organization. Dwaik relates his conversation with Shamsiya after the video was published.
Imad recounts the execution incident:“On Thursday morning at 8:30, I was having coffee with my wife Faiza as usual when I heard several bullet shots near my house in Tel-Rumeida. I left the house quickly with my video camera towards the location of shooting.The first thing I saw was an Israeli soldier on the side of the street pointing his rifle at a young man on the ground who was wearing a black jacket and black trousers. While filming I heard noises from other soldiers so I pointed the camera towards the noise where I saw another young man covered in his blood, with blood coming out of his face. This man was wearing a grey jacket, while the first guy in black seemed to be still alive as I was filming. In less than a minute, a large group of soldiers and settlers gathered in the location and an Israeli ambulance arrived and gave aid to an Israeli soldier without attending to either Palestinian men. The man in the grey jacket didn’t move while the man in black was moving his arms and legs while on the ground. After the solider was put in the ambulance, I heard the soldiers getting ready to shoot while I was still filming, and a soldier stepped towards the man wearing a black jacket, shooting him in the head directly from a very close distance even though he didn’t form any threat to the soldiers or settlers as he was on the ground. The man immediately died and his head was blown up to pieces visible on the ground. This is what I documented with my camera from the Human Rights Defenders Group and what I saw with my eye, and my wife Faiza was with me all the time helping me record.”
Since the start of Intifada in October, occupation forces have carried out several tactics to make life even harder for Palestinians by rebuilding and expanding the military checkpoint on Al-Shuhada street [in Hebron]; the checkpoint consists of two lanes now for entry and exit, where a thorough inspection inside the ‘container ‘is carried out through a glass barrier with CCTV and recording devices, and the residents are required to show their ID and a number that identifies the place of their residence. Each person is required to carry such a number, in what is a new strategy to displace the residents by making life impossible.
Hadeel Hashlamon: a beginning for the executionsThe series of executions started with the murder of martyr Hadeel Hashlamon, which was documented by a volunteer from Brazil working with Eappi program. The photos were distributed to international media agencies, and the volunteer recounted the story on his own blog. Since then,the area witnessed more execution-style murders from Tel-Rumeida through Al-Salemeh neighbourhood, to the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, forming an Israeli settlement belt known as the Jewish neighbourhood that came to exist after expelling Palestinians through a number of policies.
The map of executions is not randomThe locations of these execution-style murders is seen to be in areas around settlers, especially in Hebron; Imad says that 13 murders in cold blood were carried out in Tel-Rumeida and Al-Shuhada street, as well as executions near Al-Ibrahimi mosque and Kiryat Arba.This is in addition to Palestinians murdered in what is known as Gush Etzion north of Hebron, and Beit Enon [east of Hebron]. This makes it clear that there is a plan to cement the settler reality and escalate strategies against the residents of the land, particularly in the heart of Hebron to link all settlements through the Jewish neighbourhood, using all policies possible of ethnic cleansing and silent displacement, making Hebron a living example of apartheid in the world today.