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Israeli settlers attack Palestinian videographer of Hebron shooting in attempt to ‘silence documentation and resistance’

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Emad Abu Shamsiyah first started receiving death threats in March, after a video he filmed for Israeli rights group B’Tselem, which captured Israeli soldier Elor Azaria shooting dead Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif, 21, was released to the public. The video sparked a media frenzy surrounding the incident, and directly led to the initial indictment of Azaria. Shamsiyah has not had a good night’s rest since.

Shamsiyah lives in the city-center of Hebron — arguably the most contentious city in all of the occupied West Bank — and the only city-center where Palestinians and Israeli settlers live side-by-side.

During the case, Shamsiyah was frequently accosted by Israeli settlers near his home, who demanded he change his testimony. After last week’s ruling, which found Azaria guilty of manslaughter, the threats against Shamsiyah have reached a new level, as 67 percent of the general Israeli population supports a full pardon for Azaria.

The lack of support for the manslaughter ruling has translated into anger among Israeli settlers, who have a neighbor directly responsible for the main evidence in the case. As a result, Shamsiyah cannot walk the streets of his neighborhood without fearing for his life.

“It was already bad before, but after the court ruling, all these threats started to come in through my Facebook, telling me I will die and that people want to murder me,” Shamsiyah told Mondoweiss on Thursday.

“There are memes on Facebook with my picture on them calling for my death,” he said. “My son’s can’t sleep at home because it’s so dangerous for them. The area around my house has been declared a closed military zone.”

The camera Shamsiyah used to film the shooting was provided by Human Rights Defenders, and the video was first sent and published by B’Tselem.

Talal Idries, a tour guide in Hebron, told Mondoweiss that he supports Shamsiyah’s work, but he is skeptical that documentation does any good, when the entire Israeli justice system “works against Palestinians.”

“Yes the court’s found Azaria guilty, but it is all a show for the international stage, so that Israel looks like it has justice — but watch, he will be pardoned,” Idries said.

“The settlers who attack Shamsiyah are not punished, just as the soldier who killed [Sharif] will not be punished. There is no judging an Israeli when the action he took was against a Palestinian. Palestinians don’t get justice here, Israel is happy for violence against Palestinians.”

An Israeli soldier guards a checkpoint, a few hundred feet from another checkpoint, in the old city of Hebron, very near to where Elor Azaria shot dead Abed al-Fattah Sharif. (Photo: Sheren Khalel/Mondoweiss)

An Israeli soldier guards a checkpoint, a few hundred feet from another checkpoint, in the old city of Hebron, very near to where Elor Azaria shot dead Abed al-Fattah Sharif. (Photo: Sheren Khalel/Mondoweiss)

Ayman Samir, a young man from Hebron, frequently hangs out around his uncle’s shop in front of the Ibrahimi Mosque near the site of the shooting. Samir told Mondoweiss that he believes the settler attacks against Shamsiyah are not just allowed by the Israeli forces patrolling the area, but encouraged.

“Of course the Israeli settlers target him,” Samir said. “The people who are activists, or the people who try to document Israeli violations, are being targeted by the Israelis all the time, because they don’t want to allow people to see the reality of how life is here.”

“They are trying to put a lot of pressure and harassment on Palestinians who use the camera as a tool to document Israeli attacks on Palestinians. By attacking someone like Shamsiyah, they are trying to kill Palestinian non-violent resistance” he said, sitting in his uncle’s shop, directly across from Israeli soldiers on the other side of the road. “All of it is used to scare the Palestinian people — it’s a deliberate policy that aims to end Palestinian resistance — the basic goal is to stop anyone from documenting any Israeli attacks or violations.”

In the 13 months following the start of an uptick in violence in October 2015, 236 Palestinians like Sharif were killed by Israeli forces and civilians. During the same period 34 Israelis — many of which were soldiers — were killed in Palestinian attacks, according to Ma’an News Agency’s documentation.

Hebron has been the epicenter of the violence, as 31 percent of all Palestinians killed were shot dead in the district.

Due to the circumstances of the killings, groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have deeply criticized Israel’s rules of engagement, with both groups calling on Israel to end its practice of “extrajudicial killings,” citing the Azaria’s case specifically.

While Amnesty International said in a report that the manslaughter ruling against Azaria “offers a small glimmer of hope amid the rampant impunity for unlawful killings” in the occupied Palestinian territory, Palestinians seem skeptical, as most of the population expects calls for a complete pardon by Israeli officials and the general public to come to fruition.

Sheren Khalel

Sheren Khalel is a freelance multimedia journalist who works out of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. She focuses on human rights, women's issues and the Palestine/Israel conflict. Khalel formerly worked for Ma'an News Agency in Bethlehem, and is currently based in Ramallah and Jerusalem. You can follow her on Twitter at @Sherenk.

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25 Responses

  1. just on January 9, 2017, 2:01 pm

    ““There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart,” Streep said as she accepted the Cecil B DeMille award. “Not because it was good, there was nothing good about it, but it was effective and it did its job.

    “It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter. Someone he outranked in privilege, power and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it and I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie, it was real life.”…

    …In front of a visibly stunned room of stars at ceremony renowned for its boisterousness, Streep said Trump’s actions had legitimized bullying.

    “This instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everyone’s life because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing.

    “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence invites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.”

    She also called on the press to hold the powerful to account, and said that the freedom of the press needed to be protected now more than ever.”

    Imagine if Emad Abu Shamsiyah was supported for showing the truth rather than being targeted by those that praise all of Israel’s executions of Palestinians not caught on camera. I’ll never, ever forget this:

    “War crime: video shows sniper killing of wounded Gaza civilian”

    Speak now, and speak loud. Protect freedom of speech and of the press. Give them courage. Protect the truth and those that fearlessly risk their lives to tell it. They risk their lives because others are too lazy or brainwashed to face it .

    Doing nothing is not an option.

    • eljay on January 9, 2017, 2:58 pm

      A non-Israeli living in not-Israel…
      – films the cold-blooded execution by an Israeli Occupation Forces goon of another non-Israeli living in not-Israel; and, as a result,
      – is routinely (existentially) threatened by supremacist Israeli colonists squatting illegally and immorally in not-Israel.

      To Zionists – who believe that Jews are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them – there’s nothing to see here because to see anything would be anti-Semitic.

    • amigo on January 9, 2017, 3:01 pm

      Hi Just,

      “Disrespect invites disrespect, violence invites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others we all lose.” Streep.

      That,s a bit rich coming from miz streep who is not exactly shy when it comes to supporting Israel.

      • just on January 9, 2017, 4:06 pm

        Perhaps the scabby scales have finally fallen from her eyes, amigo.

        I truly do believe that many more pairs of eyes will have to see and acknowlege their complicity in this (and other) ethnic cleansings of Palestine and of MENA.

        They are facing a horrible truth, indeed.

      • genesto on January 10, 2017, 2:16 pm

        —– as well as the vampire, Hillary Clinton, who has zero sympathy for ANY of the Arab deaths, let alone Palestinians, for which she shares responsibility. Streep is one of the greatest actresses of our generation, but she is also hypocrite.

    • RoHa on January 9, 2017, 8:23 pm

      Just, what’s the connection between Streep’s silly speech and Shamsiyah?

      Or are you contrasting the publicity given to the one with the suppression of the other?

  2. Maghlawatan on January 9, 2017, 3:04 pm

    Fair play to B’tselem for providing the cameras so the world can see the cream of the settlers doing their odious thing.

    Meanwhile the Israeli embassy in London is trying to fight BDS cackhandedly

    “A British diplomat who has worked on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict said: “British parliamentarians need to feel able to criticise Israeli government policies which are illegal, such as settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, without fear for their promotion prospects or being smeared as anti-Israel or even antisemitic. This is not an isolated episode. Masot is being sent home because he was caught out, not because he was a maverick.”

    • inbound39 on January 9, 2017, 4:30 pm

      And the problem for Israel meddling in British Politics is getting bigger and bigger…..Americans hopefully will take heed of what the majority of British Politicians are doing………they are calling for a full investigation on Israel’s meddling.

      • Maghlawatan on January 9, 2017, 4:57 pm

        Israel can’t change the way Brits see Israel.

      • amigo on January 9, 2017, 6:15 pm

        “israel can’t change the way Brits see Israel.”Mag

        They can and they will but not in the way they hope to.

        Never have so few tried to fool so many for so long.

      • Mooser on January 9, 2017, 8:31 pm

        “Sheer ignorance. Judaism only solves problems through discussion.”

      • Kay24 on January 9, 2017, 8:57 pm

        Let’ face it, the Ministers in the UK parliament are a little more reasonable than members of the US Congress, who are beholden to the Jewish lobby, and will dare not go against it.
        We have seen some scathing speeches against Israel and it’s crimes in the House of Commons more than we will ever see in Congress.

        This was one of the greatest speeches I have ever heard, and will not hear from ANY of the American leaders, EVER.

    • Maghlawatan on January 10, 2017, 2:41 am

      That Kaufmann speech is magnificent

    • Paul Larudee on January 12, 2017, 11:57 am

      For the record, B’Tselem did not supply Imad’s camera, and the article has been corrected. B’Tselem has done a wonderful job with its camera distribution program, and some of the Human Rights Defenders received training from B’Tselem, but Imad’s camera and eight others provided to Human Rights Defenders, as well as other electronic equipment, came from ISM Northern California.

      We are looking for people traveling to Palestine to take more equipment, and we are also accepting donations. We will ship the equipment to you after confirming who you are. Many thanks.

  3. JLewisDickerson on January 9, 2017, 4:02 pm

    RE: “The lack of support for the manslaughter ruling has translated into anger among Israeli settlers, who have a neighbor directly responsible for the main evidence in the case. As a result, Shamsiyah cannot walk the streets of his neighborhood without fearing for his life.” ~ Sheren Khalel

    ■ IMAGE: A Jewish settler in Hebron uses his wine to douse a Palestinian woman.

    • Maghlawatan on January 9, 2017, 4:58 pm

      I think Hebron is where Judaism died

      • Marnie on January 10, 2017, 1:43 am


        I’ll take it one further – judaism was murdered in Hebron – the first of many sacrifices to the zionist-cult god. There is no judaism in the zionist state, only selected ‘religious’ props to offered in sacrifice to appease the gluttonous zionist-cult god, those being the daily sacrificial offerings of palestinians.

  4. Kay24 on January 9, 2017, 7:38 pm

    Apparently Trump and the Kushners have donated thousands to CHABAD a pro settler orthodox movement, that operates all over the world. I have seen this organization in Princeton NJ and even in Asia, and wondered what the heck it was, now it is clear.

    Hundreds of Thousands in Donations Tie Kushners and Trump to Chabad Movement
    The Kushners have contributed close to $350,000 to institutions affiliated with the ultra-Orthodox outreach movement over the years, while Donald Trump has made a few donations of his own.

    read more:

  5. xanadou on January 9, 2017, 8:04 pm

    The times they are a-changing. Israel may be regressing into recreating the 1930s with themselves as the A-list protagonists, but the world is moving forward:

    “France shoots down purchase of Israeli drones
    Boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigners in France are welcoming their government’s decision not to spend more than $100 million on Israeli drones.”
    This is the second major defeat for Israel’s Elbit Systems, which last year lost a major bid it had been tipped to win to sell France its Watchkeeper drone.”

  6. annie on January 9, 2017, 8:48 pm

    the washington post recently published a story about Shamsiyah with an expose of over 20 of his photographs — which are stunning. i highly recommend:

  7. Qualtrough on January 9, 2017, 11:48 pm

    It is like every ‘neighbor from hell’ left their own country and became a settler in Israel. I can imagine little more unpleasant living near or among people like that.

  8. Curatica on January 10, 2017, 1:36 am

    They don’t care too much about “resistance” — violent or not — that they can repress quite easily, efficiently and decisively, if they really mean it; they care much more about the public opinion; crime is reprehensible only when it is discovered, according to a certain Jewish moral code.

  9. Dan From Away on January 10, 2017, 4:41 am

    The Arabic text in the poster of Azaria reads:

    Yes to the prosecution in the International Criminal Court of the soldier Elor Azaria
    the murderer of the martyr Abdelfattah Al Sharif

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