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Filmed murder – was threatened

Imad Abu Shamsiya filmed an Israeli soldier executing a wounded Palestinian in Hebron. Since then, the family has received several death threats. “We no longer dare go out alone. But I do not regret what I did, ”he says.


The video showing an Israeli soldier shooting one of two unarmed, wounded Palestinians in the head has gone worldwide. The two young Palestinians of 20 and 21 years in the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, respectively, must have attacked Israeli soldiers with a knife. In the video you see the 21 year old Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif lying badly on the ground after being shot several times in the body. After a few minutes, an Israeli soldier comes over and shoots the 21 year-old in the head. The autopsy report released Sunday shows it was the head shot that killed al-Sharif.
Just outside, in the disputed area of ​​Tel Rumeida, is the cobbler Imad Abu Shamsiya. He works voluntarily for the Israeli human rights organization Bet'Selem. When he heard a gunshot on the street just outside the home, he ran out and started filming. On the ground lay two young men, clearly injured. “Their faces and the ground around them were covered in blood. When I saw one of the men approach one of the boys, I zoomed in on him. The soldier went away and
kicked him. After a few seconds, ten soldiers gathered around the boy, asking me to move away from the street and turn off the camera. So I kept filming from a roof over there. "
The ambulance came and took the Israeli soldier with him. Shortly afterwards, Shamsiya heard the sound of a weapon being loaded.
"I was scared of what was going to happen to the boys lying on the ground, so I zoomed in on one. Shortly afterwards, one of the soldiers went over to the boy in his black jacket and shot him in the head on a very close hold, ”Shamsiya says.
This is the first time an Israeli soldier has been caught on film regularly executing an injured person. Now the family will sue the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

Settlers climbed the house. But publishing the film has not been a hassle for Abu Shamsiya. Since the video was released, he and his family have been subjected to death threats, threatening Facebook messages and phone calls – probably from Israeli settlers in Hebron. The soldiers in the area are also said to have intensified their attention to the family. Since he published the film, representatives from various international human rights organizations have spent the night with their families because of the threat picture. Abu Shamsiya has reported the threats to the Israeli police and asked for protection, but has so far received none. Tel Rumeida is located within Area H2 of Hebron, which is Israeli. Palestinian police thus have no authority in the area.
"I no longer dare to go out alone, the same goes for my family. On Friday, a group of settlers came up to the roof of my house and started threatening us. I am very scared, both for my own and my family's safety. Since I published the film, the situation has gotten much worse. But I do not regret that I did it, "says Shamsiya.

Violence Wave. The shoemaker also says that his clientele has disappeared after he chose to publish the film.
"I have not worked since the incident. I get no customers, because they are afraid of getting into trouble if they go to me, "he says.

"Their faces and the ground around them were covered with blood. When I saw one of the men approaching one of the boys, I zoomed in on him. The soldier went away and kicked him. "

We are interrupted by the youngest son who comes running across from the road that stretches past the house. Breathless, he says that the military has set up a temporary checkpoint between the family home and the grocery store. The young boy was refused to cross.
The family in the turbulent area has experienced many problems even before the incident with the filming. Settlers have on several occasions thrown Molotov cocktails at the house. All six members of the family have been arrested at various times. Last summer, settlers poisoned the water tank the family has on the roof. "Life is very difficult, but it is clear that we do not want to move from here. This is our home and we want to stay here, "said Abu Shamsiya.
The Israeli soldier who fired claims that he acted in self-defense, but is currently out of service. He could now become the first Israeli soldier to be charged with murder during the ever-escalating wave of violence that has swept across the West Bank and East Jerusalem since October last year.
According to Israeli military radio, the soldier arrived at the scene after the other soldiers had concluded that al-Sharif was no longer a threat. The soldier is said to have stated that the Palestinian "deserved to die" twice before firing. The family later explained that he feared that al-Sharif was hiding a bomb.

Divided reactions. Since October 2015, 28 Israeli soldiers and two US citizens have been killed in attacks by Palestinians, while at least 190 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. 129 of them are said to have been suspected of having committed attacks. In addition, several have been shot and injured during clashes and protests, according to the news agency Reuters.
While the Israeli Defense Forces condemned the assassination of Abd al-Fatah al-Sharif, the Israeli government has acted as quite divided in its view of what should happen to the soldier who fired. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud) quickly joined the IDF's condemnation of the assassination. "The incident in Hebron does not represent the IDF's values. "The IDF expects the soldiers to act in accordance with the regulations," Netanyahu said a few days after the video was released.
However, surveys show that large sections of the Israeli population are on the soldier's side, and solidarity actions have been launched in his favor on Facebook and other social media. Within the government, some ministers have called for support for the soldier, and protested against what they believe is prejudice on the part of the army. Nevertheless, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, partly supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has repeatedly stressed the importance of the army conducting its investigations into the course of events. It is expected that the suspended soldier will soon be charged with premeditated murder.

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