Footage allegedly shows IDF sniper killing Palestinian 'without cause' (VIDEO)

Reuters / Ronen Zvulun
A video posted online purports to show an Israeli sniper shooting dead an unarmed Palestinian in the occupied West Bank village of Silwad. The soldier is shown aiming at the faraway figure, then a shot rings out and the person collapses.

“Got it! Wow, got it. Got video, too!” the sniper allegedly says in Hebrew after what looks like a kill shot. This is followed by the camera veering away and the video ending.

According to Israeli website Mako, the soldiers in the video come from the Heredi Netzah Yehuda Batallion of the Kfir Brigade, implicated a few days ago in the controversy over the excessive use of force near a refugee camp in Ramallah.

Israeli website Mako has quoted an IDF spokesman as saying: “The video shows the sniper fire toward the lower body of an inciter in a violent and illegal disruption of peace, which occurred in the village of Silwad, northeast of Ramallah. The shooting was done with permission by the sector commanders after the suspect threw an incendiary device and stones at the forces on the spot. The shooting was filmed as part of the instructions of the commanders in the sector for documentation and verification."

However the 7-second video does not show any signs of anything that could have led up to the shooting.

It is impossible to identify the victim, or if the person was armed. A veteran colonel that Mako spoke to on condition of anonymity said “the target is not threatening the forces in the field in a manner that requires operating the sniper, not according to military procedures.”

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“It is customary to put snipers at controlling points and they have a very specific role: to locate and destroy an armed person who threatens the forces, if such a person appears among the demonstrators, or take out of commission a demonstrator who presents a clear threat and endangers the life of forces in the field… unfortunately, it does not look like that is the situation in the film in question,” he said after being shown the video.

The colonel also focuses on the PR damage the video could do to the IDF: “The trickling of such materials to the Internet is especially serious,” he continues. “In this way you can see how the force operates, they’re exposing themselves to legal problems, and what they don’t understand is that this could get the whole country in hot water. Damage at a global level. It’s just stupidity.”