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Israeli sniper films shooting of unarmed Palestinian — and celebrates

Israel/Palestine
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A video clip in which an Israeli sniper filmed himself shooting an unarmed Palestinian across the Gaza fence and then celebrating drew international outrage last night. The two Palestinian targets in the video appear simply to be walking around near the fence.

Here is the video via Electronic Intifada:

In sharing the video, Jewish Voice for Peace says the shooting took place last week:

An IDF soldier filmed himself shooting at unarmed Palestinian protesters on Gaza border this last Friday and then celebrating with his friends saying “Take that sons of bitches.” The IDF has responded that it will investigate

The New York Times has also covered it, honestly, saying the video shows “Israeli troops shooting a Palestinian man across the border fence at a time when he posed no obvious threat — and then rejoicing.”

Yesterday the Israeli army suggested that the video was taken months ago, but as the Times observed, the timing is not important. It quotes B’tselem, the human rights organization:

“Incidents such as the one in the video published today occurred hundreds of times over the past few weeks in the Gaza Strip, causing death and injuries — with the full support of policymakers and top military officials,” Btselem, an Israeli human rights organization, said in a statement. “Btselem is deeply sorrowed by the manifestly illegal commands ordering soldiers to shoot at people who pose no threat.”

The Times also quoted Breaking the Silence, the Israeli soldiers group, saying this isn’t just a few weeks old, it’s 51 years old, a reference to the occupation.

The essentials of the talk in the clip:

There appears to be a discussion with a commander in the background about which Palestinian the sniper should get. All of the figures seem to be standing rather motionless. The commander seems to be saying “take the pink one”, and a sniper answers “not the pink, the blue”. Immediately after a shot is fired (0:39).

The sniper shouts “wow, what a clip, YES!!!!”.

His comrade is in awe – “wow, wow”.

The sniper continues: “Son of a whore!”

Comrades: “did you film it?”

Sniper: “Look, now they’re coming to evacuate him – of course I filmed it!”

Comrade: “Wow, someone’s head was hit!”

Sniper: “What a clip, it’s a dream!” Another comrade: “I didn’t see it, bro!”

Comrade: “Did you see how he flew in the air with his leg like that!”

Sniper: “Take that, you sons of whores!”

Late yesterday in response to the clip, the IDF said: “Concerning the clip – apparently this concerns a case that occurred a few months ago. The case will be investigated and checked thoroughly” (cited by Channel 10 military correspondent Or Heller).

Think about it – the army promised to ‘investigate’. What will it investigate? This practice is completely in line with what B’tselem has been warning about – permission to open fire on anyone within 300 meters of fence. What could the army possibly charge the soldiers with? Celebrating the very acts for which the Defense Minister wants to reward with medals?

Here is Breaking the Silence’s statement on the shooting:

Over the past two weeks, Israeli snipers were ordered to “shoot to kill” targeted unarmed demonstrators in Gaza, killing dozens and injuring hundreds. A video released last night depicts a soldier targeting and shooting an unarmed demonstrator who posed no direct threat. Firing live ammunition at unarmed demonstrators marks the transgression of yet another red line.

Whether this video was filmed a month or a week ago, as those who served in the occupied territories, we know – over 50 years of occupation have resulted in moral corruption to the degree to which unarmed innocent demonstrators are now being killed.

What we are witnessing on the border with Gaza is no different than what we did within Gaza as Israeli soldiers. This complete disregard for the lives of the innocent is indicative of the fact that it is impossible to control millions of people against their will without morally degenerating. Responsibility for this lies first and foremost in the hands of our government, which continues to send the IDF to perpetuate the regime of occupation.
About Jonathan Ofir

Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

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About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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23 Responses

  1. Citizen
    April 10, 2018, 9:26 am

    IDF snipers have permission to open fire on non-violent or armed protesters within 300 meters of the fence. That’s 328 yards.
    The length of three US football fields ,plus some, away from the fence… Is that right?

  2. WH
    April 10, 2018, 10:18 am

    Wow, IDF mom Kershner telling it like it is? Interesting times.

  3. Henry Norr
    April 10, 2018, 1:22 pm

    According to the Times of Israel, the IDF has now concluded its investigation of this incident. The verdict: the soldier who did the shooting “acted appropriately,” but the one who took the video will be disciplined – soldiers have to learn to keep these things out of the media!

    Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman also expressed his support for the sniper, while criticizing the soldier who filmed the event.

    “The sniper deserves an honor and the cameraman a demerit,” he said at an event in northern Israel.

    Though he criticized the video, Liberman also appeared to defend the cheering heard in it, saying it was inappropriate but somewhat understandable for soldiers in stressful situations.

    “The IDF is the most moral army in the world, but when you are on the front lines and tense sometimes you let out some tension, so you can understand this,” he added, calling IDF troops “the best of the Israeli people.”

    https://www.timesofisrael.com/army-clears-sniper-filmed-shooting-gazan-denounces-cameraman/

    • Marnie
      April 11, 2018, 3:57 am

      “The IDF is the most moral army in the world, but when you are on the front lines and tense sometimes you let out some tension, so you can understand this,” he added, calling IDF troops “the best of the Israeli people.”

      May you continue to rot in the hell you would create for others.

      • Emet
        April 11, 2018, 10:23 am

        Yes, the most moral army in the world. The protester/terrorist was shot in the leg.

      • eljay
        April 11, 2018, 11:19 am

        || Emet: Yes, the most moral army in the world. The protester/terrorist was shot in the leg. ||

        … The Palestinian does not appear to be armed and is not seen throwing rocks or firebombs at the security fence or the Israeli troops on the other side. …

        Among other things, a “most moral” army doesn’t:
        – undertake a decades-long occupation of territory outside of its country’s / Partition borders;
        – enable and defend the on-going colonization of territory outside of its country’s / Partition borders;
        – fire weapons across a containment fence and put bullets into the victims of its country’s on-going military-occupation who are neither armed nor acting aggressively.

        Oh, wait a minute, I get it now: By “most moral” you meant ‘not as bad as Saudi Arabia, Mali, African “hellholes”, etc.’. That makes more sense.

      • Marnie
        April 11, 2018, 11:47 am

        The protester was shot for breathing against the will of the occupation. The terrorist was the soldier of the ‘most moral army in the world’ – like the einsatzgruppen – ja vey!

    • Tuyzentfloot
      April 11, 2018, 11:51 am

      Yes, the most moral army in the world. The protester/terrorist was shot in the leg.

      Reminds me of the expression ‘shooting oneself in the foot’.
      If an army considers all protesters as terrorists , they drop all the way to the bottom of the morality ranking.
      Of course nothing stops them there to mutter to themselves how incredibly humane they are every moment they are not exterminating those antisemites , or more of them.

    • Kathleen
      April 13, 2018, 1:39 am

      Liberman a soulless terrorist. A very ill individual. War criminal without a doubt.

  4. Susie Kneedler
    April 10, 2018, 1:45 pm

    Thanks for this terribly sad info, Jonathan and Phil.

    A tiny, grey disclaimer at the bottom suggests that the NYT print version reported less “honestly”:

    “A version of this article appears in print on April 10, 2018, on Page A9 of the New York edition with the headline: Israeli Forces Hail Shooting In a Video.”

    “Page A9,” “Hail Shooting.” “Covered it” or vaguely covered it over?

  5. Maghlawatan
    April 10, 2018, 3:21 pm

    The reason why all of the uncomfor table Jewish moments in the second half of Howard Jacobson’s life were Israel related can be summarised in one phrase . The inhumanity of Israel. Israel is an abomination.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/07/howard-jacobson-jews-know-what-antisemitism-is-and-what-it-isnt-to-invent-it-would-be-a-sacrilege

    “But then came Israel. Or rather, as Israel had been there throughout our childhoods, the systematic anathematising of Israel to the point where it became an abomination.

    The Israel-loathing that began to consume the left altered my sense of being Jewish in this country

    If I think back to moments of Jew-related tension I’ve experienced in the second half of my life, they have almost all been to do with Israel”

  6. Maghlawatan
    April 10, 2018, 3:28 pm

    The reason why all of the uncomfor table Jewish moments in the second half of Howard Jacobson’s life were Israel related can be summarised in one phrase . The inhumanity of Israel. Israel is an abomination.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/07/howard-jacobson-jews-know-what-antisemitism-is-and-what-it-isnt-to-invent-it-would-be-a-sacrilege

    But then came Israel. Or rather, as Israel had been there throughout our childhoods, the systematic anathematising of Israel to the point where it became an abomination.

    The Israel-loathing that began to consume the left altered my sense of being Jewish in this country

    If I think back to moments of Jew-related tension I’ve experienced in the second half of my life, they have almost all been to do with Israel”

    • jackal
      June 4, 2018, 2:32 am

      A Canadian special forces sniper just abolished a world record for the longest-ever successful shot on record. In Iraq, the sniper hit an ISIS militant from more than 2 miles away, with the bullet flying in the air under 10 seconds before hitting its target.
      With modern weapons, right conditions, two football fields is very doable, unfortunately for all the victims in Gaza who were sometimes not even close to the fence.

      • Mooser
        June 4, 2018, 1:08 pm

        “A Canadian special forces sniper just abolished a world record for the longest-ever successful shot on record”

        Big deal. Was this Canadian trying to get off a shot under a shower of Palestinian rocks? Did he have a burning kite hovering menacingly over head?

  7. Kaisa of Finland
    April 10, 2018, 8:35 pm

    Well, this clip was published here too. Well done boys. You are breaking the “perfect cover”..

  8. JLewisDickerson
    April 10, 2018, 8:51 pm

    RE: The sniper continues: “Son of a whore!”
    [PALESTINIAN IS SHOT]
    Sniper: “Take that, you sons of whores!”

    MY COMMENT: One of the Israelis favorite expressions for referring to Palestinians (Palestinian males, at least)!

    ■ The Hasbara Buster (August 1, 2017): Israeli Jews massively chant “the Jews are lovely, the Arabs are the sons of whores,” [Narcissistic, much? ~ J.L.D.] or, more crudely, “death to Arabs,” and everyone understands they mean the Palestinian Arabs . . . ~ http://archive.is/XZipM#selection-3517.0-3517.14

    P.S. ALSO SEE (note Netanyahu urging “balance”):
    Hebron soldier in hot water over 2014 Facebook post against PM
    • Likud fumes after offensive social media statuses surface; Netanyahu’s FB page manager calls on Azaria to apologize
    By Times of Israel staff
    30 July 2016, 9:27 pm

    The Israeli soldier currently facing manslaughter charges for the March killing of an incapacitated Palestinian attacker in Hebron has landed in even more hot water after a series of social media posts he and his family published two years ago against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu surfaced on Saturday.

    According to Channel 2, the offensive Facebook posts started circulating on internal Likud forums Saturday afternoon, raising the ire of party members and backers within the party of Netanyahu.

    A July 15, 2014 Facebook post by Sgt. Elor Azaria criticized Netanyahu for considering a ceasefire with Hamas and urged him to hit the terror group even harder. “Kill them all,” Azaria wrote, later adding “[Rabbi Meir] Kahane was right,” a slogan often used by those in the extreme right in reference to the virulently anti-Arab rabbi whose Kach party was banned from the Knesset over incitement to racial hatred. His ideology still inspires many Jewish extremists.

    In response to the post, Azaria’s father Charlie wrote “Kahane the sage was right; the next generation should rise,” while his mother added “Death to those who harm Jews. Enough with the humanism; if needed, kill women and children.”

    The post and responses were published a week after Operation Protective Edge began on July 8 that year.

    In April this year, almost a month after the March 24 incident in which Arazia was filmed shooting Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in the head — nearly 15 minutes after Sharif was shot and wounded by soldiers he had tried to stab — Netanyahu called Azaria’s father, later urging “balance” in the contentious legal proceedings against him. . . .

    ENTIRE ARTICLE ~ http://archive.is/XZipM#selection-3517.0-3517.14

  9. Maghlawatan
    April 10, 2018, 9:59 pm

    OT but not. Israeli impunity and arrogance to be sorely tested perhaps

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/10/israel-russia-syria-netanyahu-iran-middle-east

  10. yourstruly
    April 11, 2018, 2:53 am

    An Israel sniper shoots a Palestinian and his friends shout “take that, sons of bitches”

    shades of

    Gulf War I –

    “It was like a turkey shoot”

    Words spoken by U.S. Airforce pilots after firing away at hastily retreating Iraqi soldiers.

    Goes to show that those who dehumanize others may end up dehumanizing themselves too.

  11. ritzl
    April 11, 2018, 10:57 pm

    The timing of this video is critically important. If it was some months ago it could be as the Israelis claim, the “bad apple” defense. If it was on Good Friday it shows a command-level “knew where every bullet was going” premeditation and greenlight for this behavior on that day. One is some unfocused, random event, the other is proof of admitted intent in a specific event.

    Huge difference, to me anyway.

  12. Maghlawatan
    April 14, 2018, 8:28 am

    Zionism is the Mob.
    2 things I read today. Comey would recognise Israel for what it is.

    @noa_landau

    Israeli Immigration Authority releases a video of @LordMayorDublin leaving the country this morning & signing a form prohibiting him from returning without permission (which he will probably never receive). And now they have his real name…

    https://mobile.twitter.com/noa_landau/status/984699938398289920/video/1

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/apr/13/james-comey-book-trump-robert-mueller-michael-cohen

    “As I found myself thrust into the Trump orbit, I once again was having flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the Mob,” Comey writes. “The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and the truth.””

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