Israeli police launches investigation after Palestinian teenager being beaten is caught on CCTV
Israeli security forces fire tear gas during clashes with Palestinian protesters following a protest against the expropriation of Palestinian land by Israel. AFP Photo
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To silence Palestinian protests after Israeli soldiers assaulted a Palestinian teen in the village of Silwad near Ramallah, the Israeli Military Police has announced an investigation into the case in response to the revelation that nearby security cameras in the colony of Ofer caught the beating on tape.
Israeli soldiers arrested the Palestinian teen Mohammad Abdul Rasoul from the family of Abu Sa’ad of Al Mazraa Al Sharqiyah near Silwad of Ramallah for allegedly throwing stones at the Israeli military forces late April. The security camera at nearby Ofer shows the Israeli soldiers punching, kicking and berating the Palestinian teen several times while he was lying on the ground.
The Israeli daily, the Haaretz, reported on Wednesday that it was not clear how long the beating went on because after a few seconds, the camera turned to face in another direction.
In his testimony, an Israeli officer familiar with the incident said that several Palestinians threw stones at the soldiers and the border police, but that does not justify how the teen was treated after being arrested. “The beating never should have happened,” said the officer.
When the Palestinian teen was taken to the police station, he denied the charges of stone throwing and officially accused the Israeli military of beating him after his arrest. The Israeli Police did nothing about the teen’s complaint yet stone throwing charges were officially pressed against him few days later.
The Israeli advocacy human rights group, B’Tselem, obtained a copy of the security footage and passed it to the Military Advocate General, which ordered an investigation.
The footage was screened during the teen’s court hearing, where the charges against him were reduced in a plea bargain from stone throwing to participating in an illegal demonstration.
The Israeli military establishment said in a statement that the military prosecution has ordered an investigation and that it will review the findings after the investigation is concluded. Meanwhile, the possibility of additional disciplinary measures against the soldiers is being considered, added the military statement.
Speaking to Gulf News, Maher Awwad, a member of Silwad Municipal Council, said that a group of Palestinian teens were on the scene, and even the stone throwing charges could hardly be proved against them.
“It was a mere Israeli military trap for several teens who were in the scene,” he said, adding that the teens got to the area after Israelis from nearby colonies seized Palestinian owned private land. “Abu Sa’ad was arrested, and beaten to distract the attention from the actions of the Israeli colonists,” he said.
“Even if the teen was involved in stone throwing against the military forces there to cover and protect the colonists, he should not have been treated in that way,” he stressed.
“The Israeli military forces could have easily taken him to the military base and officially press charges against him,” he said.
“We condemn the actions of the Israeli military forces in the strongest terms knowing in advance that there will be no chance those violating soldiers will be punished for their brutal actions,” he said.
Awwad added that the Israeli military had decided to launch an investigation to cover the scandalous actions of the soldiers. “This is a mere propaganda move which will lead to just nothing,” he said.
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