Israel says it has completed investigation into woman seen in year-old video
Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem – The Guardian
An Israeli border checkpoint. The leaked video showed a female officer shooting an unidentified man. Photograph: Mussa Issa Qawasma/Reuters
Israel has completed an investigation into the case of a former police officer who shot an unarmed Palestinian in the back with a sponge-tipped bullet.
The incident, which took place more than a year ago, was revisited over the weekend when a domestic television channel aired leaked footage of it.
Channel 13 News reported that the man was stopped as he tried to enter Israel from the occupied West Bank. In what appears to be a cameraphone video, published on Saturday evening, the unidentified man is seen being ordered by a female border police officer to leave.
He promptly walks away along an empty road with his hands up as other Israeli officers shout “Go!” in Arabic. Almost 20 seconds later he is shot in the back, and he screams in pain as he collapses. The officers then turn and leave.
The Channel 13 report quoted police as saying the man was not seriously hurt. Police often use the sponge-tipped bullets as a tool to disperse protests. Although described as non-lethal, the munitions can kill if fired at the head.
Israel’s justice ministry said on Sunday that it had held four hearings into the case. It did not say when it would announce its decision on whether to file charges.
Police said in a statement that the woman was removed from duty as soon as the incident was discovered. It said she was sent back to the Israeli army, where she had been working. Other officers present at the scene were also removed or reassigned.
“This is a case that does not characterise in any way whatsoever the behaviour or operations,” the statement said.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported on the woman’s arrest last year. At her bail hearing at Jerusalem magistrates court, the judge Elad Persky said the suspect apparently shot the Palestinian “as a dubious form of entertainment”.
Haaretz reported that her case was discovered while authorities were investigating a separate incident in which the same paramilitary border police allegedly beat a Palestinian for no reason.
The Associated Press contributed to this report