An Israeli occupation army soldier earlier this month shot from a close range and injured a handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian detainee, an Israeli human rights group revealed Sunday. According to B’tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the incident took place on 7 July, in Nil’in, a village in the central West Bank.
Palestinians and foreign peace activists hold regular and mostly non-violent protests against the confiscation by Israel of private Palestinian land for the construction of the “Separation Wall,” the gigantic barrier Israel is building in the area. Vast swaths of Palestinian farms, orchards and groves have been seized by Israel under the pretext of building the wall, most of which is built deep in the West Bank far away from the so-called Green Line, the former armistice line between Israel proper and the occupied Palestinian territory.
According to a B’tselem report, Israeli occupation soldiers stopped and detained Ashraf Abu Rahma, 27, who was then blindfolded and handcuffed for about half an hour.
B’tselem quoted eyewitnesses as saying that Abu Rahma was beaten by soldiers who then dragged him to an army Jeep. There, a video clip showed one soldier aiming his rifle at the Abu Rahma’s legs from a distance of about 1.5 meters and firing a rubber-coated steel bullet at him.
Numerous Palestinians have been killed or maimed by Israeli army rubber bullets which can be quite deadly especially if fired from a short distance.
Abu Rahma told B’tselem that the bullet hit him in the left toe. He reportedly received treatment by an army medic before he was set free.
The video clips of the incident were provided by a 14-year-old Palestinian girl from Ni’ilin who filmed the incident from her house in the village. The identity of the girl has not been disclosed.
Israeli soldiers and settlers have lately escalated their abuse of mostly unprotected Palestinians.
In June, a number of masked Israeli settlers, carrying clubs, savagely attacked elderly Palestinian peasants and shepherds near the town of Yatta in the southern West Bank causing them grievous injuries.
Similarly, Jewish settlers earlier this month assaulted a Palestinian from the village of Sammou, also in the southern West Bank.
The settlers tied up the 35-year-old Palestinian teacher to a power pole and brutally beat him.
Human rights organizations operating in the West Bank have documented many cases of abuse by Israeli soldiers, especially by a notorious paramilitary brigade known as the Border Police.
Abuse cases included soldiers forcing Palestinian laborers to drink soldiers’ urine, forcing Palestinians to curse their religion, and forcing them to sing songs praising Israel and the Border policeman.
A few weeks ago, the Israeli television channel-10 revealed that Israeli soldiers manning a roadblock in the northern West Bank coerced a Palestinian worker to chant in Arabic the following refrain “Wahad Hummas, wahad fool, Allah Iyhayee Mishmar Gvul” (one dish of Hummus, one dish of beans, Allah salutes the Border Police.”
Normally, such abusive behavior on the part of Israeli soldiers goes unpunished which human rights groups contend only serves to encourage further abuse.