An Israeli soldier has been arrested after he was filmed shooting an injured Palestinian in the head as he lay on the ground in Hebron.
The male soldier, understood to be a medic, was taken into custody after video recorded by a resident and released by a human rights group showed the graphic aftermath of an attack on Israeli soldiers by two Palestinians.
In gruesome footage posted to the B’Tselem website, the Israeli soldier is seen sitting on a stretcher before being taken to hospital with light injuries. As this happens, an injured Palestinian man is shown lying on the road.
He is visibly alive but receives no medical attention. Less than two minutes later, soldiers are seen in discussion, before one readies his rifle and shoots the injured man in the head from close range.
A statement from London-based Israel think tank BICOM said the shooting was “unacceptable” and “falls dramatically short of the high standards expected of the Israel Defense Forces… It is fitting that all soldiers at the scene are currently being investigated.”
The man who was shot was later named as Abd al-Fatah a-Sharif, who together with Ramzi al-Qasrawi had stabbed an Israeli soldier in Tel Rumeida in Hebron on Thursday.
A statement from B’Tselem said: “Although this occurs in the plain view of other soldiers and officers, they do not seem to take any notice.”
Under Israeli law, shooting to kill is only allowed when someone is an immediate threat to the lives of others. Once the danger is over, and they have been immobilised, they must not be harmed.
“Authorities are turning a blind eye to repeated grave suspicions of extrajudicial killing by security forces, backed in the field by commanders,” said B’Tselem.
Israeli leaders took the unusual step of imposing a complete closure on the West Bank and Gaza during the Purim holiday, with up to 100,000 Palestinians denied travel access across the territories.
Israeli defence lawyer Ilan Katz, who plans to defend the soldier, said the autopsy could yet show that a-Sharif would anyway have died from his original injuries, and if not, could still have posed a danger.