New video footage contradicts Israeli claim on civilian killing

Raed al-Naasan (21) was killed while protesting against Israeli troop incursions in his village (Social Media)

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  December 4, 2022

Israeli military says forces killed a Palestinian youth for throwing Molotov cocktail, a claim refuted by video.

The killing of 21-year-old Palestinian Raed al-Naasan at the hands of Israeli troops has been laid bare by new video evidence published by the BBC that contradicts Israel’s account of his murder.

Naasan was one of five Palestinians killed by Israeli forces on 29 November.

Israeli occupation forces initially claimed that Naasan was killed while throwing a Molotov cocktail.

Israeli troops entered the village of Al-Mughayyir in the occupied West Bank to demolish a Palestinian home that Israel claims was built illegally.

Newly released footage of the minutes leading to Naasan’s killing reveals him and others throwing rocks at Israeli forces before two shots ring out, the second of which fatally wounds him.

In his last moments, captured on camera, Naasan is seen running around a corner before stumbling to the ground just as emergency services arrive at the scene.

Following Naasan’s death, the Israeli army said its soldiers responded with live ammunition after a suspect “spotted hurling Molotov cocktails [petrol bombs]” at them. 

The new video evidence shows that neither Naasan nor any of the people around him were throwing any Molotov cocktails.

In response to the killing, the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said, “There are many cases of protests where the Palestinians are using rocks, stones and sometimes other means, and Israel’s army almost always uses disproportionate force.”

New shoot-to-kill policy

The killing of the five Palestinians on Tuesday brought the death toll in the occupied Palestinian territories this year to 207 Palestinians, of whom 155 were killed in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, making it the deadliest year recorded for Palestinians since 2005.

Israel’s “shoot-to-kill policy” has been widely criticized as the number of Palestinian deaths at the hands of Israeli forces increases.

Many Palestinian activists believe that Israeli soldiers have been receiving new orders to target Palestinians with lethal force under that policy.

“Israeli soldiers usually arrest the youth, not shoot them. They have never shot so many live bullets, and we think it is connected to new orders the soldiers are getting,” Palestinian activist Jad al-Bargouthi told Middle East Eye earlier this week.

Although Israel’s shoot-to-kill policy has been in place for years, many Palestinians are attributing the increase in Palestinian deaths and the lack of hesitation from soldiers to the victory of the right-wing government that recently won the elections in Israel.

Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich of the Religious Zionism party, along with members of the incoming government, have made their stance on anti-Arab racism very clear in their rhetoric over the years, going as far as advocating for the deportation of citizens of Israel that are ethnically Palestinian and calling for Palestinians throwing rocks to be shot.

Ben-Gvir, Israel’s incoming national security minister, speaking to the soldier who shot a Palestinian man dead at point-blank range on Friday, hailed the killing as “precise, swift and rigorous”, calling the shooter a “hero”.

Ben-Gvir said the soldier had carried out a job “well done” in fatally shooting 22-year-old Ammar Mefleh, whose death was caught on video and shared widely on social media.

In the video, the soldier – who has not been identified – scuffled with Mefleh in the occupied West Bank town of Huwwara near Nablus before pulling a gun and firing two shots that sent the youth to the ground before shooting him twice more.