RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territory — An amateur video taken in the West Bank indicated a Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces Monday was shot at close range, apparently while he was unarmed and posed no threat to soldiers. The army said it was investigating.
It was the second video to emerge in the past week showing the shooting of an unarmed Palestinian by Israeli forces, and the latest example of how amateur videos are changing the operating environment for soldiers in the West Bank.
In Monday’s incident, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Omar Badawi, 22, was shot in the chest in the Aroub refugee camp, near the city of Hebron, and later died of his wounds.
The Israeli military said that troops had arrived in the refugee camp after Palestinians threw rocks and firebombs at a nearby highway. The army says soldiers came under attack by a large group of Palestinians throwing stones and firebombs and responded with tear gas and live fire. It could not confirm whether or not Badawi was involved.
Hours later, a video appearing to show the shooting began circulating on social media. In the video, a young man is seen walking in an alley between two buildings, with one hand in the air and carrying a towel in the other.
“Bring water. Bring water quickly,” shouts Badawi. As he exits the alley, he appears to be shot at close range from the side.
Abdel-Rahman Hassan, a Palestinian cameraman who said he filmed the incident, said a fire had broken out next to the house and Badawi had come outside to put it out.
“He was carrying a towel, and the moment he got there he was shot,” Hassan said. He said Badawi posed no threat and accused the soldiers of killing him “in cold blood.”
Hundreds of Palestinians attended Badawi’s funeral, while the U.N. Mideast envoy, Nickolay Mladenov, wrote on Twitter that the video “would seem to indicate that he posed no threat to anyone” and that “such acts must be thoroughly investigated.”
The military said “the incident is being reviewed” but gave no further details.
Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups also accuse Israeli security forces of routinely using excessive force, covering up abuses and carrying out half-hearted investigations.
Such cases have historically been hard to prove. But the proliferation of security cameras and cellphone videos has changed the equation, resulting in a number of amateur videos that have uncovered apparent abuses by Israeli forces in recent years.
A video emerged last week showing Israeli paramilitary border police shooting a young Palestinian man in the back with a painful sponge-tipped bullet as he walked away from them near a checkpoint outside Jerusalem. Israel’s Justice Ministry says it has completed an investigation into the incident, which occurred last year, and will soon decide whether to indict the officer who allegedly fired the bullet.
In the most famous case, a soldier spent nine months in prison after he was convicted of manslaughter based on a video that showed him fatally shooting an already incapacitated attacker in the head.
Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Mideast War.