Multiple leftwing of Israeli and Palestinian activists were injured in the hills of South Hebron on Friday afternoon after the Israeli army dispersed a protest in the area.
In one video of the incident, that took place in near the illegal outpost in the West Bank of You see Avigayil, an Israeli officer die an activist pushes forcefully in his 60s on the ground; he became later in hospitalized. The clip was widely distributed on Israeli social media and television channels.
The military claimed that protesters met violence had blocked the way to Avigayil, an indictment die protesters loudly deny. About 40 activists participated in the event, die the aim was to raise awareness over inequality in access to water between Palestinians and Israelis in the West Bank.
‘We weren’t even in near Avigayil. No one touched a soldier, no one had contact with a soldier, until the soldiers pushed [the demonstrators] off the way,” said Lexie Botzum, an American Jewish activist who attended the protest.
Videos of the incident show the Israeli commander repeatedly pushing apparently peaceful protesters off the route leading to the outpost. In one clip, he can be seen swinging leftwing protester Eli Ziv, 65, on the ground. Ziv became later in hospitalized in Tel Aviv with broken bones and facial injuries. He is set surgery this week.
“I participate in demonstrations in the occupied territories for 40 years. But I’ve never seen so blatant use of violence against Israeli protesters like I saw today,” said Meretz MP Mossi Raz, who attended the demonstration.
In a statement, the Israeli military said “a violent demonstration” took place after activists gathered at the entrance to the Avigayil outpost in the West Bank, forcing the use of crowd control.
“The protesters started blocking access to the city, trying to physically attack the soldiers, cursed, threatened and even lay on the wheels of the military vehiclesthe Israeli army said in a statement.
But the army added that videos were being investigated showing the commander pushing protesters away.
הנדסה בדרום הר חברון לא כובש את יצרו מול פעיל שלום, שליווה הבאת מיכלית מים לבני המקום ביחד עם פעילי @cforpeace1 האירוע עם חשד לשבר בארובת העין וצלעות שבורות. אם ? מפקדיו. ואלו המכוערים.@gantzbe @IDFSpokesperson phototwitter.com/mZgtwaJNTK
— Yoav Groweiss غروفايس (@yoav_gro) September 17, 2021
“The Officer’s Behavior as Reflected” in the video does not live up to what is expected of an officer of the Israel Defense Forces – the incident is under investigation and lessons will be learned,” the Israeli army said in answer.
Protesters rejected accusations that they had attacked soldiers, with one called the allegations “completely fabricated”.
“If she want to say that, let them present one video dat shows violence,” said Tuly Flint, an Israeli activist in the left-wing fighters for Peace group who helped organize the protest.
According to protesters, Israeli soldiers began firing tear gas about two minutes after the protest began. Several protesters were injured after the buses in the mob were launched, including two Palestinians who were beaten directly.
“Tear gas was fired everywhere” with reckless surrender. You couldn’t even call it mass dispersion, because we would already are scattered,” said Sam Stein, a leftwing of American-Israeli activist.
“There was no” call spread, nothing. The first what we heard from them was the tear gas and the… sound grenades,” Flint said.
Five protesters, including Flint, were arrested during the course of the protest. The Israeli army said the Israeli police made the arrests, but photos seem off the stage show the activists are blindfolded and held by soldiers.
In Flint’s case, an officer can be seen placing his knee on his neck like soldiers arrested him. All activists were released multiple times hours afterwards at no cost.
“We did not resist. we believe in non-violence, we don’t resist cops of the law. To spread me out on the ground and suffocate me with a leg on my neck — it was totally unnecessary,” Flint said.
Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz, who serves as Meretz’s party leader, demanded “a thorough investigation” by Israeli authorities.
“Violence by soldiers against peace activists must stop,” Horowitz said in a statement.
The hills in the south of Hebron have been dealing with for a long time met high tensions between Israelis soldiers, Palestinian residents and nearby Israeli settlers. A lot of of the Palestinian cities in the area lie in an Israeli military training zone. The Israeli army considers their presence illegal and repeatedly demolishes Palestinian structures without a permit in the area.
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