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Hebron settlers file complaint against Palestinian who filmed execution

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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.

Ha’aretz reports:

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.

Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

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26 Responses

  1. Walker on March 27, 2016, 3:04 pm

    You can’t make this stuff up.

  2. amigo on March 27, 2016, 3:33 pm

    “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.”

    Yup, pretty sneaky these camera toting antisemites.They just cannot be trusted to keep their lens shut.

    • oldgeezer on March 27, 2016, 5:01 pm

      I guess for all of their Nobel prize winnings they haven’t quite figured out that if you aren’t undertaking a crime then there is nothing to capture on video.

      Even if everyone else agrees that they are right and there is coordination the idf thugs and criminals are still guilty. Spell volumes about their lack of moral compass, virulent racism and the sickness of their society. Especially with such an outpouring of support for cold blooded murder. Remind me to shed a tear the next time an Israeli is the victim.

  3. just on March 27, 2016, 3:45 pm

    The top photo of the grinning duo reflects the most deeply depraved of Israel. Why, they appear proud of it, too!

    I thought that I couldn’t be more sickened, but I am. The very nasty settlers and zealots Daniella Weiss and that evil crone Anat Cohen must be having a ball.

    Thanks for all of your diligent coverage of this latest war crime, Dan.

    • Citizen on March 27, 2016, 6:23 pm

      @ just
      My thoughts and feelings too.

    • chocopie on March 28, 2016, 12:59 pm

      That’s the very illustration of “shit-eating grin.” Those two know how disgusting they are and they’re smiling, enjoying it.

  4. just on March 27, 2016, 4:27 pm

    From Haaretz:

    “… The soldier claimed in his military police investigation that he shot Sharif because he feared for his life. He also said during the investigation “I carried out the shooting while the terrorist was alive. I did so because I felt in mortal danger.” His attorney, Ilan Katz, said during a hearing last Friday at the Jaffa Military Court that the shooting was carried out in accordance with the military’s open-fire procedures.

    On Sunday, Army Radio reported that the military investigation found that the soldier told one of his friends that the “terrorist needs to die” for stabbing another soldier. Despite the latter’s efforts to calm him down, the soldier then shot the Palestinian. Attorney Katz denied this statement, but declined to comment on further details.

    It has been clarified to the soldier in his investigation that he is suspected of murder. Operational Affairs Attorney Lt. Col. Adoram Riegler said during the hearing that it constitutes “suspicion of very grave offenses.” Court justice Lt. Col. Ronen Schur determined that the investigation material “indicates a reasonable suspicion that the suspect fired unlawfully under the circumstances, and that this shooting might have led to the death of the terrorist, who at the time remained lying on the ground after he was shot earlier.”

    A poll published by Channel 2 News on Saturday showed that most of the public (57 percent) believed that there was no need to detain and investigate the soldier, compared to 32 percent who supported it. Forty-two percent of respondents defined the soldier’s behavior as “responsible,” 24 percent believed that it was a natural reaction to a stressful situation, 19 percent said it constituted a deviation from orders and 5 percent defined the shooting of the wounded assailant as murder – the offense the soldier is suspected of. More than two-thirds of the respondents had reservations about IDF chief Gadi Eisenkot and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s decisive statements against the shooting, while 21 percent sided with them.

    The mother of the soldier suspected of the murder wrote to Ya’alon on Sunday. “I am the mother of the soldier that you sent on a mission to protect the country’s citizens and you have abandoned him. A mother who sent her son to protect the country and its citizens, and the establishment reciprocates by firing back and silencing his voice. I am the mother of the 19-year-old boy who is standing alone in front of the political and military leadership and can’t take it on.”

    “Bring us the boy back, bring us our lives back. Remember and don’t forget that you stood in my son’s place, only in the room of Abu Jihad, and confirmed the kill of a despicable terrorist and murderer,” she wrote, referring to Ya’alon’s part in the 1988 assassination of a senior Fatah leader. “On Thursday my son also stood against a murderous terrorist, but the tables have turned and the terrorist who came to murder became a Righteous among the Nations and my son became the murderer. Have we gone crazy?!””  

    read more:

    Israel’s been “crazy” for a long while now……

    • oldgeezer on March 27, 2016, 4:53 pm

      I can understand the mother’s lament though that is not to say I agree with it.

      If only Israelis had half as much empathy for the youth of the Palestinians. I guess that they just don’t rate consideration as they are less human than the racist Israeli Jews.

      • just on March 27, 2016, 5:50 pm

        Richard Silverstein:

        … “An IDF soldier who was a medic in the unit and who had treated the wounded soldier, asked permission from his commanding officer to “finish off” the wounded Palestinian. Apparently the commander approved. The soldier walked to within six feet of the wounded Palestinian cocked his rifle and shot him. This practice is often called ‘confirming the kill’ in the IDF. Palestinian girls as young as 12 years-old have been executed in this fashion before. Last week, Bassam Massalha, after being wounded, was executed as video filmed his murder. In one of the earliest of such incidents in Jerusalem in 2002, the police commander, Mickey Levy, ordered one of his officers to execute a Palestinian, who had been captured and disarmed before he could detonate his suicide vest.

        Mickey Levy is now a deputy minister and key member of the center-right Yesh Atid party. An Israeli security institute hosted a screening of the film, Wounded Land, about a meeting between a suicide bomber and the families of his victims at the hospital where both were brought after the attack. Levy appears to have forgotten his sordid past when he told the film audience this entirely mendacious version of the Jerusalem attack in which ordered a summary execution:

        “Every time I hear that a terrorist has been “neutralized” I laugh. Because you can neutralize the danger, but never the terrorist. When there is intent to injure and the danger is imminent, you certainly may shoot to kill. But once the danger is past, the situation changes.”

        Levy then raises this same 2002 incident. But he makes dramatic changes in the actual story which flatter him and deface the truth. He says that when he arrived on the scene there was a terrorist who had a suicide vest still strapped to his body with the button to activate it visible. But he was in handcuffs and on his knees and a soldier stood over his body. No suicide bomber would ever be in handcuffs while still strapped to his vest. The Palestinian attempted to roll onto his belly in order to activate the bomb. Levy supposedly then asked the sapper whether he could disable the bomb. His officer told him he couldn’t because the terrorist was moving. He then ordered another soldier to kill the terrorist with two bullets to the head.

        These pictures of the same incident should refresh Levy and expose the lies he told his all to gullible audience. They show the alleged attacker arrested with no suicide vest in sight. There are policemen milling about and no one appears threatened by the possibility of a bomb exploding.

        Many Palestinians are similarly executed by Israeli security forces, but few in as blatant a situation is these in broad daylight and on camera.

        Back in Hebron, when the shooter returned to his commanding officer, he went through the formal rituals of confirming the use of his weapon and that was the end of it, they expected. Instead, a Palestinian activist had videotaped the entire incident. He gave the video to the Israeli human rights NGO, B’Tselem, which subsequently circulated the video far and wide, after submitting it to the military censor. (If anyone has access to the uncensored version, please be in touch.) It’s been reported by media outlets around the world, including the BBC and many others.

        The videographer, Imad Abu Shamsiyah, is in hiding. Settlers surrounded his home, stoned it, and shouted: “Death to Imad.” Neither Israeli soldiers nor police intervened.

        The IDF, as a result of the bad publicity, arrested the soldier. Lt Col Peter Lerner confirmed that the soldier killed the Palestinian, and that his commanding officer apparently approved the killing. However, there is no word that the commanding officer himself has been arrested or detained.

        Yesterday, I spent a great deal of time posting to Facebook and Twitter asking Israelis if they could help me identify the killer. Luckily, the Israeli far-right gossip forum, Rotter, has identified him along with pictures. He is El-Or Azarya, a resident of the poor Israeli town of Ramleh, near Tel Aviv.

        Other activists in Israel have helped further identifying him, finding Facebook accounts and photographs which document him before the execution. He is a devoted follower of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club. The most hardcore racist Beitar fans have formed a gangland-style fan club called La Famigilia. He’s also written “Kahane was right!” on his Facebook page.

        Among the pages he’s Liked on Facebook are the far-right Kahanist, Baruch Marzel; the racist rapper, The Shadow, who advocated burning Palestinians alive on his Facebook page; the La Famiglia page; Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked; and Avigdor Lieberman.

        It is highly unlikely that justice will be done in this incident. Normally, the IDF claims to investigate such incidents, does so, finds insufficient evidence to prosecute, and closes the case. …

        … Let no one think of this is a one-off aberration. Palestinians are executed in the same fashion virtually every day. Nor are these summary executions a product of Israeli policy over the past few months alone. Such murders go all the way back to the 2002 incident I described above. The murderers are rewarded for their callousness as Levy has been, by being a respected member of the Knesset.

        Some of the killings are videotaped and some aren’t. The ones that are not videotaped escape the world’s notice, except in the Palestinian community. The ones that are videotaped elicit a small measure of attention in Israel and no attention outside. The lives that are so snuffed out aren’t worth much either to the world media or to Israelis. But once in a while, if circumstances are right, when there’s a videotape that captures all the bloody action in broad daylight, then the world takes notice.

        I am publishing as much about this case as I can in order to expose not just this single murder, but all of the brutal illegal violence perpetrated by Israeli Security Forces against Palestinians.”

    • a blah chick on March 27, 2016, 5:46 pm

      He’s a frickin’ medic! He’s not suppose to be shooting anyone!

      Mama, your son is literally a scapegoat and upon him will all the sins of the of the IDF be heaped. That he was acting under orders from superiors is of no consequence. He is low hanging fruit and he will be sacrificed. He is Mizrahim from a poor neighborhood in Ramla and as such is about as far down the social ladder as you can get in Israel, without being black or an Arab.

      But don’t worry, they won’t sentence him to life or even significant jail time. Probably he’ll get 45 days, that way he’ll get to expunge his conviction after 5 years. But I would advise him to keep his mouth shut and except the plea deal, to do otherwise will leave him open to censure. He is not special in the eyes of the state except as canon fodder.

      • Talkback on March 28, 2016, 10:24 am

        blah chick: “He’s a frickin’ medic! He’s not suppose to be shooting anyone!”

        That doesn’t mean anything if someone is first and foremost a supremacist. Mengele was even a doctor.

    • talknic on March 27, 2016, 9:32 pm

      “I carried out the shooting while the terrorist was alive. I did so because I felt in mortal danger.”

      So it wasn’t to confirm the kill. Interesting

      • Talkback on March 28, 2016, 10:20 am

        This is the same soldier wearing a cap in the beginning of the video. (0:07) At 1:34 he’s in the background (green gate) to check if the other Palestinian is dead. Then he comes back to his (what Richard Silverstein refers to as) commander and then he shoots the other Palestinian.

        So nearly after two minutes in the video (only) he felt “mortal danger”. ROFL. Hasbara at its best.

  5. eljay on March 27, 2016, 5:38 pm

    … 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. …

    Hard evidence of an execution of a non-Jew by a Zio-supremacist Jew is not evidence of an execution of a non-Jew by a Zio-supremacist Jew, it’s evidence of a “Pallywood” plot to make a Zio-supremacist Jew look bad.


    Zio-supremacist Jews believe they are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them. That illusion won’t last forever and they seem to be doing their damnedest to shorten its lifespan.

    • Kris on March 27, 2016, 6:24 pm

      @eljay: “Zio-supremacist Jews believe they are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them.”

      That is pretty much it; Zionism in a nutshell.

  6. RockyMissouri on March 27, 2016, 7:07 pm

    “Most honored of nations” ? ……………..a cruel joke.

  7. Henry Norr on March 27, 2016, 8:27 pm

    An interesting tidbit : the camera that recorded the murder was provided by the Northern California ISM support group.

    • just on March 27, 2016, 8:49 pm

      Thank you.

    • Qualtrough on March 28, 2016, 3:29 am

      Thanks for sharing that. Every Palestinian should be equipped with a Go-Pro that streams to the cloud to record all the crap they have to deal with every day.

  8. just on March 28, 2016, 6:26 am

    Amira Hass:

    “Lieberman Is Right About the Hebron Shooting

    Is this the first time a soldier has executed a Palestinian in cold blood, or did the fact that it was caught on film make the difference?

    Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avidgor Lieberman is right when he says the “onslaught” directed at the Kfir Brigade solider who executed Abdel Fattah al-Sharif in Hebron last Thursday after Sharif had already been subdued is hypocrisy. In other words, that the Israel Defense Forces spokesman and Prime Minister … Netanyahu and others who condemned the soldier’s action are hypocrites.

    It’s clear, after all, that it is only because a camera documented a soldier shooting a “neutralized” Palestinian in the head that the people at the top rushed to disassociate themselves from the act. “That’s not how the IDF operates,” they said, meaning that the IDF is usually not so negligent as to allow the actions of its soldiers to be filmed so we know that it indeed is how armed Israelis conduct themselves – executing Palestinians suspected of carrying out stabbings when they no longer pose a danger.

    Here are the contours of this hypocrisy:

    * On September 25, 2015, soldiers in Hebron killed Hadeel al-Hashlamoun. She hadn’t stabbed anyone but had only gone through a checkpoint with a knife. Three bullets hit her lower body and seven her upper body while she was already lying “neutralized.” There was a foreign activist there who took still pictures that were sufficient to prove that Hashlamoun was not a threat to the soldiers. A storm of controversy ensued. An investigation was carried out and findings were released about a month after the beginning of the “stabbing wave.” The commanders found that the soldiers could have arrested Hashlamoun without killing her, but decided that they should not be punished. On November 4, I wrote: “Punishing them would have required punishing other soldiers who ‘felt that their lives were in danger’ and easily took a life.” 
I should have written “felt and will feel.”

    * With the typical egoism of an occupier, the current violent escalation is marked by Israelis as beginning on October 1, when a husband and wife, Eitam and Na’ama Henkin, were murdered near the settlement of Itamar. But for Palestinians and particularly the Hebronites among them, the starting point is the date on which Hadeel al-Hashlamoun was executed in cold blood. And there are also those who mark it beginning from July 31, when the members of the Dawabsheh family were murdered in the West Bank village of Duma.

    * In an analysis on Friday in Haaretz, Amos Harel defines the shooting execution in cold blood and writes: “The … soldier [a combat paramedic] shoots the prone terrorist in the head at very close range. No one standing around [soldiers and settlers] seemed particularly alarmed by what they had just seen.” There are several possible reasons for that: 1) That is the spirit of the IDF in their view; 2) They had already been present or participated in very similar incidents or knew that that’s what everyone does, only without a camera and 3) Despite remarks by IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot, the army is not acting to instill the message among soldiers that killings should not happen when life is not endangered.

    * Most of those who have carried out the approximately 105 incidents of stabbing, attempted stabbing or knife-wielding since October 3 have been killed by soldiers, policemen and security guards. In all the cases that were not filmed by Palestinians, did the soldiers, police and security guards really act appropriately and had no choice but to kill? In other words, that the hand of God has decided that only what runs counter to the spirit of the IDF is what will be filmed?

    * Cameras actually did document the killing on October 29 of 24-year-old Mahdi al-Muhtaseb. He had fled from a soldier he stabbed, was apparently shot in the leg while on the other side of a checkpoint in Hebron and fell to the ground. While on the ground, a border policeman shot him several times until he stopped moving. Palestinians were shocked and alarmed, but the Israelis reacted as if it was the most normal conduct.

    * A security official told Haaretz at the time that when Muhtaseb showed signs that he was going to get up, the border policeman shot again. “That is what is expected of a soldier, because who knows? Maybe the terrorist would blow himself up or take out a gun and shoot,” he said. Blow himself up? In the middle of a Palestinian neighborhood? But that’s precisely the line of defense being put forward by the family of the paramedic who executed Sharif in cold blood.

    * A smartphone was used on October 4 to film the execution in cold blood of Fadi Alun from Jerusalem, a stabbing suspect who was already lying on the sidewalk after being shot. Palestinians were shocked and alarmed, but the Israelis reacted as if it was the most normal conduct.

    * Imad Abu-Shamsiyeh of Hebron, a former volunteer with the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, was the person who filmed the paramedic executing Sharif. He told Haaretz that the solider had demanded that he move away, but he went onto a roof and took the video footage. He is active in the Hebron-based group Human Rights Defenders, but knew nevertheless that he had to turn the video footage over to B’Tselem so the Israelis could not dismiss the filmed evidence as some kind of Palestinian nonsense.

    * On Thursday, senior officials expressed shock that army paramedics had not administered medical care to the injured Palestinian. But many reports from the scene of stabbings or knife-wieldings in recent months have contained repeated accounts of the army failing to care for injured Palestinians who lay bleeding until they died. IDF spokespersons dismissed the claims as a common Palestinian fabrication.

    One may conclude that the only time there was a failure to provide medical care to Palestinians is when B’Tselem has had filmed evidence. When B’Tselem does not have such evidence, the soldiers are the Righteous Among the Nations.”

    read more:

  9. Ossinev on March 28, 2016, 7:56 am

    Headline from today¬s Haaretz:
    “Netanyahu panics after realizing that his electorate sees the soldier who fatally shot a ‘neutralized’ terrorist as an Israeli hero”

    Tragic really. He has suddenly realised (I don`t think) that in order to stay in power he has cultivated and has become totally reliant upon what are effectively Nazi standard lunatics – the lunatics have now taken over the asylum.

    The particular Nazi lunatic in this article Gopstein has an interesting history:

    “Gopstein has called for the incineration of Christian churches. On the Haredi website Kooker, Gopstein published an article in December 2015 calling for the suppression of Christmas celebrations in Israel and the expulsion of Christians whom he likened to vampires.”

    American Christians in particular should be thrilled to know what their $3 billion a year ( soon to be $5 billion a year ) charitable taxpayers grant to the Land of Desecration is being spent on.

  10. just on March 28, 2016, 9:00 am

    “Palestinians Ask UN to Investigate Israeli Killings

    … AP – The Palestinian government has asked the United Nations to launch an investigation into alleged extrajudicial killings by Israel.

    Monday’s request follows the deadly shooting last week by an Israeli soldier of a wounded Palestinian assailant as he lay on the ground. The military has detained the soldier while it investigates.

    Palestinian official Saeb Erekat said that past Israeli investigations have failed to “serve justice” and instead, he claims Israel has been “rewarded with impunity.”

    The shooting came amid a six-month wave of Palestinian attacks that have killed 28 Israelis and two Americans.

    Over the same time, at least 188 Palestinians have died by Israeli fire. Israel says most of those were attackers while the rest died in clashes with Israeli forces.

    The Palestinians say the killings amount to extrajudicial slayings.”

    read more:

    Swedish FM Margot Wallström got it right from the start. Hopefully, she’ll embrace BDS soon…

  11. michelle on March 28, 2016, 8:15 pm

    t’dee and t’dumb later stated
    potAto potato tomAto tomato
    let’s call the whole thing off
    and the world leaders
    jumped over the moon to support Israel yet stop isis
    while the mirror said Israel is the worst in all the land
    this crazy life/world is our reality
    i hope Sanders makes a difference for the betterment of all
    G-d Bless

  12. Rashers2 on March 29, 2016, 11:03 am

    I’m so grateful I don’t live on or have to put up 1st-hand with Planet Ziopathy. The behaviour seems to be deteriorating; the arrogance, impunity and entitlement getting even more brazen. In a civilised society, sociopaths like Gopstein would be few in number and mostly incarcerated for the protection of their fellow-citizens. This kind of perverted world-view leaves one bereft of words powerful enough adequately to describe it.

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