The Israeli army identified a Jewish settler who fired at Palestinians with a soldier’s gun in June, but failed to report it.
On June 26 this year, an Israeli civilian was filmed firing at Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills in the West Bank. According to a report by Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Thursday, the Israeli army then failed to report the incident despite having identified the individual as a settler on the same day, as well as another incident where a soldier fired at Palestinian civilians.
The army’s lack of action was revealed when Haaretz sent an inquiry about the proceedings in relation to the shooter. While the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) said the army reported the incident to the Israeli Police, the police said they had not received any complaint or report regarding the incident.
The IDF spokesperson later said no complaint or report was filed against the shooter.
"An IDF soldier picked up a settler in an army vehicle and asked him for directions. When they arrived at the site, stones were thrown at the vehicle. In response, the settler took the soldier’s gun and fired into the air,” a military spokesman said.
The spokesperson said the soldier was immediately summoned for questioning and the settler’s identity is known.
Palestinian eyewitnesses however had another version of how the incident unfolded. They said the soldier handed his gun over to the settler.
IDF refuses to disclose what happened to the masked soldier fired at Palestinians
In a separate case, a masked soldier was filmed shooting at Palestinian civilians in May alongside a civilian. Responding to Haaretz’s inquiry, the IDF refused to disclose the whereabouts of the soldier, if any action was taken against him or if he is still serving in the army.
The video, taken by the human rights group B’tselem and first published by the Local Call’s website, showed that the Palestinians did not endanger the soldiers, as they even stood next to them and talked with each other.
Two Palestinians were killed in the shooting, but it’s not clear if it was the bullets of the soldiers or armed civilians that killed them. Head of the town council Mazen Shehadeh told Haaretz at the time that the incident began after around 30 settlers accompanied by six or seven soldiers approached the village and began firing at Palestinian civilians who only threw rocks to protect their houses.
Shehadeh said he witnessed one settler taking a gun from soldiers, who also gave him more ammunition when he ran out.
The IDF spokesman said the Military Police had opened an investigation of the death of one Palestinian resident, Nidal Safadi, and would submit the results to the military advocate.