IOF Internal Affairs Department Closes Investigation into Shooting of an Israeli Protester Despite Video

By Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 5 February 2012

The Israeli Internal Affairs Division announced today that it decided to close the investigation into the shooting of Israeli activist, Ben Ronen, due to lack of evidence. The decision was reached despite a video that clearly depicts the unlawful shooting.

Israeli activist, Ben Ronen, was informed today that the investigation into his shooting by last May was closed due to lack of evidence by the Israeli Internal Affairs Devision (IAD), which is responsible for investigating crimes committed by officers of the law. Ronen suffered multiple fractures to his hand, after a Border Police officer shot a tear-gas projectile directly at him from close range during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh.

In a letter received today, the IAD informed Ronen of their decision to close the case on grounds of insufficient evidence, saying, “An analysis of the evidence and different versions that arise from the case file brought us to the conclusion that a conviction in the case is improbable”.

The decision to not file indictments in the case was reached despite extensive video footage depicting the events preceding the shooting, the shooting itself and what followed it, as well as the officers’ attempts to prevent the documentation.

The footage clearly shows Border Police officers very violently attacking a group of peaceful protesters who were chanting slogans (at 00:55 into the video), especially targeting the women in the group.

Later in the video, at 03:15, the footage shows a Border Police officer who was indiscriminately shooting tear-gas projectiles directly at protesters and Ronen shouting at him to relax. The officer then steps a few meters back to his commander, who orders him to shoot Ronen, which he does. When reviewed frame-by-frame, the projectile can be seen flying towards Ronen.

Both the footage and medical documents attesting to Ronen’s injuries were handed to the IAD by Ronen’s lawyers, as well as testimonies by himself and other eye-witnesses.

Ronen’s lawyer, Adv. Gaby Lasky, said, “In light of such decisions, despite overwhelming evidence, it is impossible to view the Internal Affairs Devision as anything but a whitewash mechanism to enable the continued use of excessive force against Palestinians and their supporters”.

Israeli security forces regularly use tear-gas canister as projectiles, shooting them directly at protesters – as was done in Ronen’s case – when suppressing Palestinian demonstrations in the West Bank. On December 9th, 2011, Mustafa Tamimi from Nabi Saleh suffered fatal injuries after an Israeli soldier shoot him in the face with a tear-gas projectile from close range while standing in safety inside an armored military jeep. Last Friday, a French citizen was similarly shoot with a tear-gas projectile in the back of her neck by a Border Police officer during a demonstration in the same village.

Interview with Injured French Activist in Nabi Saleh

by Linah Alsaafin: 5 February 2012: Electronic Intifada

On Friday February the 3rd during the weekly popular resistance protests in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, Israeli border police fired tear gas canisters at head level directly at a group of unarmed protesters who were perhaps 25 to 30 meters away from the border police and who were merely chanting, nothing more. It should be noted that the border police are known for their vicious disproportionate and violent reactions to these kinds of protests, more so than the army itself. One tear gas canister lightly grazed the cheek of a Palestinian female protester, before hitting a French activist in the back of her head and, still propelled by its velocity, continued its course to hit a Dutch activist in his waist.

The video above, shot by local activist Nariman Tamimi, clearly captures the moment and leaves no room for doubt as to what hit the French activist, contrary to the lies emitted from the IDF spokesperson and other Israeli officials on Twitter who initially and outrageously claimed that the activist was injured from a rock thrown by a Palestinian.

Firing tear gas canisters at high velocity directly at unarmed protesters has become the staple of the Israeli army’s reaction in popular resistance protests. Two months ago, Nabi Saleh resident 28 year old Mustafa Tamimi was killed after an Israeli soldier opened the back door of the armored jeep and shot a tear gas canister at Mustafa’s face from a distance of three meters. The army has paid lip service to conducting its own investigation within the incident, which if carried out will be anything but impartial.

Today I sat down with the French activist, 20 year old Amicie P. and her Palestinian fiancé Aram S. to discuss the details of the actions that took place yesterday. The injury seemed pretty serious at first, owing to the fact that there was a large amount of blood, so it was a huge relief to see Amicie sitting next to me casually smoking cigarette after cigarette with a bandage swathed around her head.

Nabi Saleh, West Bank, 3.2.2012, on Flickr

Do you remember the moments right before the Israeli border police fired at us?

Amicie: “I was discussing with Diederik [the Dutch activist who was injured in his waist] about when we were going to leave to Ramallah. We agreed to stay for five more minutes. I wasn’t aware of when I got shot. I just felt something hit my head. It hurt me so much. I fell down and couldn’t seem to get up. People were carrying me because I wasn’t able to stand on my feet and the Israeli [border police] were still shooting at us. I wasn’t able to run. The medic Muhanad Saleem was screaming at them to stop shooting.

“I was really so afraid.  I didn’t know if my injury was serious or not. I saw a lot of blood and thought of Mustafa and how he was killed in December.”

Aram: “I have asthma. I inhaled a lot of tear gas and couldn’t think clearly. I tried to help her then found myself away from her. I went mad when I heard that she was taken to one of the Israeli jeeps but it turned out that that didn’t actually happen. I was afraid they were going to deport her because she didn’t have her passport with her.”

Amicie: “The soldier asked if I were Palestinian. They wanted to take me inside one of the jeeps. They were shocked when they found out I was French. One of the soldiers panicked and took me behind from where the rest of the soldiers were standing, behind a jeep. I didn’t know if he wanted to arrest me or not but he wanted me to go inside the jeep.”

Continue reading “Interview with Injured French Activist in Nabi Saleh”

Border Police Shoot French Woman in the Neck During Nabi Saleh Demo

by Popular Struggle Coordination Committee: 4 February 2012

The woman was hit in the back of her neck with a tear-gas projectile shot directly at her by a group of Border Police officers during the weekly demonstration in the village of Nabi Saleh yesterday. More that 20 were injured during the demonstration.

Despite a ridiculing statement by the IDF spokesperson that the injury was caused by a stone (see here), the above video clearly shows the the injury was caused by a tear-gas projectile shot directly at a group of very peaceful protesters by Israeli Border Police officers. On December 9th, 2011, Mustafa Tamimi from Nabi Saleh suffered fatal injuries after soldiers shoot him in the face with a tear-gas projectile. The practice of shooting tear-gas canisters directly at people, in fact using them as projectiles, is widespread among Israeli soldiers suppressing Palestinian demonstrations in the West Bank.

A Dutch man was also hit by a tear-gas projectile in the waist, and evacuated to the hospital with a suspected fracture.

The protest was attacked by the army well within the village shortly after it set out from the center of the village. The soldiers shot volleys of tear-gas and rubber-coated bullets at the march for no apparent reason. More than 20 injuries were recorded among the protesters throughout the day and two Palestinian journalists were detained.