The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) responded swiftly after a video emerged Monday of its snipers cheering as one of their number shot an unarmed Palestinian protester. The IDF released their findings in their initial investigation into the event just one day after the video was released.
“The video depicts a short part of the response to a violent riot, which included rock hurling and attempts to sabotage the security fence,” the IDF said in a statement, adding that the video is from December 22, 2017, and therefore does not document events connected with the Great Return March, a weeks-long mass demonstration demanding Palestinians’ right of return that has been ongoing since March 30.
WATCH: [Warning: Graphic] An Israeli soldier filmed himself shooting at unarmed Palestinians demonstrating for their rights in Gaza. After firing and hitting a Palestinian, the soldier can be heard celebrating with his friends, “Take that, sons of b*tches.” [Video via @OrHeller] pic.twitter.com/BBuKT0JHo1
— The IMEU (@theIMEU) 9. travnja 2018.
The demonstration the video captures was held in response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, though the Palestinian leadership insists East Jerusalem must be the capital of an independent Palestinian state. The man who was shot is “suspected of organizing and leading this incident,” the IDF said. Two Palestinian protesters were killed that day; more than 30 have been killed during the Great Return March.
“Do you have a bullet in the barrell?” one IDF soldier can be heard asking in the video, and then, “is it on him?” About 18 seconds later, the firing of a single sniper rifle round can be heard as the man falls.
“Wow, what a video! Yes! Son of a bitch. What a video, here, run, get him out of there. Of course, I filmed it,” a soldier can be heard saying in Hebrew immediately after the shooting. Another IDF soldier says that the man was “hit in the head,” although the IDF contradicted that account in its statement today.
“He was a few meters from the fence. He was hit in the leg and injured,” the IDF’s said, adding that the soldier who filmed the killing did so from a different position than the shooter.
The soldier who recorded the video will be disciplined by the IDF for “unauthorized filming” and “distribution” of the video, but there is no indication that the shooter will be disciplined.
Currently, IDF soldiers repressing the Great Return March are doing so under orders to shoot to kill, according to The Jerusalem Post.