Video: IDF Soldiers Block Road, Shoot Unarmed Protesters, Celebrate on Camera

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL – Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released a video on Tuesday that shows an Israeli soldier celebrating and shouting “that son of a bitch” after shooting an unarmed Palestinian protester with a rubber-coated metal bullet in the town of Madama in Palestine’s West Bank. The video, taken on April 13, also shows soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) discussing how to best shoot the Palestinian protesters and one of the soldiers lamenting the fact that they were not using live ammunition against the demonstrators.

It is the second video released this month that shows IDF soldiers celebrating after shooting unarmed Palestinians. The previous video showed Israeli snipers aiming at a Palestinian man standing still in the Gaza strip and subsequently cheering as he is shot. After the video’s release, the sniper was not charged for shooting and injuring the man, though Israel did admonish the soldiers for celebrating the act.

The demonstrations shown in this newly released video did not, however, take place in Gaza nor were they connected to the Great Return March, the ongoing protest along the Gaza-Israel border that has left at least 35 Palestinians dead and thousands wounded. Instead, the demonstration was a response of local residents to an IDF roadblock.


“Be professional — we’re on camera”

According to B’Tselem, the IDF had placed the roadblock at the eastern entrance to the village earlier in the day, blocking road access to the village from that side. The practice of blocking road access to Palestinians is a common tactic of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, where Palestinians and their vehicles are prohibited from using entire roads. Israel says the measures are in place to protect Israelis living in Israel and in West Bank settlements, considered illegal under international law.

When a group of approximately 30 village residents gathered to try to remove the roadblock, 11 Israeli soldiers appeared, resulting in heightened tensions that led the gathered Palestinians to throw stones at the soldiers from a distance of 50 to 80 meters (165 to 260 feet) and IDF soldiers to fire stun grenades, tear gas, and rubber-coated metal bullets. Seven Palestinians were injured, two of whom were hospitalized while the remaining five were treated on site.

Watch | IDF soldiers cheer after shooting an unarmed protester in Palestine

The video taken during the incident shows a small group of three IDF soldiers discussing the best ways to fire at the gathered protesters. “It is far, still too far. Wait for them to come nearer,” one soldier says, apparently discouraging the soldier from shooting from too far a distance as this may scare the protesters away. “We need one good hit and that is it. That will teach them not to throw stones,” the same soldier stated a few moments later. The soldier later admits that the stones being thrown did not even reach the soldiers’ position, owing to the large distance between them.

Later in the video, a soldier shoots a protester, visibly celebrates and yells “that son of a bitch.” He is then asked to tone down his cheers and another soldier urges him to be “professional,” as they are aware that they are being filmed.

A few moments later, one of the soldiers laments that live ammunition was not being used to quell the unarmed protest, stating that “One live bullet and the whole thing will be over.” To that, another soldier replies that they “do not need live fire.” The former then complains that one cannot effectively shoot a person with a rubber bullet.

These types of celebration are increasingly common among IDF soldiers, who are under orders to target civilians, including children, in Israel’s occupation of Palestine and its efforts to assimilate Palestinian land and permanently exile its people. As the video’s description notes, these soldiers casually discussing how to shoot a man who is trying to clear road access to his home is “part of the discordant soundtrack accompanying 51 years of occupation.”

Top Photo | An Israeli soldier walks past tanks in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, near the border with Syria, Sept. 13, 2016.

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.



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