AN Israeli human rights group has released a video suggesting Israeli soldiers stood by while Jewish settlers opened fire on Palestinians in the West Bank.
The footage, filmed by local Palestinian women hiding in their homes on the outskirts of Asira village, shows an alarming and rapid escalation in violence, captured from the moment a group of settlers, some masked and armed with guns, descended from their hilltop settlement. The Yitzhar settlers claim Palestinians had lit fires around their outposts.
The amateur footage shows the settlers gathered on the outskirts of the village throwing rocks, quickly met with a shower of stones from Palestinian youths who rushed from their homes to confront the mob. A few minutes later, Israeli boarder police are seen arriving at the fray.
In the scenes that follow, several of the Jewish settlers armed with M4 rifles - one wearing what appears to be a police cap - point their guns at the group of Palestinian men and open fire. The Israeli soldiers present appear to do nothing to stop them from shooting.
In this moment, Fathi Asayira, 24, is shot in the head. The urgent yells of Mr Asayira’s neighbours rushing to help him are captured in the footage, which has been collected and posted online by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem. Mr Asayira is currently in a stable condition in a hospital in Nablus. Five other Palestinians were injured by stones thrown during the incident.
B’Tselem has issued an urgent request to Israeli Judea and Samaria Police to arrest and prosecute those involved in the attack. The rights group has also written to the Military Police to request an investigation into why the Israeli soldiers failed to intervene to stop the violence.
The Israeli Defence Force issued a statement on Monday acknowledging live ammunition had been fired during the incident and that Israeli soldiers had been present. “The incident is currently being investigated by the division commander. That said, it appears that the video in question does not reflect the incident in its entirety,” it read.