Palestinian teen assaulted by soldiers detained for a month without cause

Comments from IDF Spokesperson regarding the Hebron incident proven false.

Last month, Mairav Zonszein posted a video showing a young Palestinian being assaulted and detained by a group of soldiers, most of them in civilian clothing. The incident happened at checkpoint 56 in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron.

After several Hebrew media outlets featured the clip, the IDF Spokesperson released the following comment:

The video does not accurately depict the course of events that occurred yesterday. During routine activity in Hebron, a Palestinian individual refused to identify himself to soldiers following their request. The Palestinian individual confronted IDF forces on the scene, an incident which doesn’t appear in the video; other soldiers not on duty, who happened to be in the area, witnessed the confrontation and came to the aid of the soldiers on scene.

IDF sources also told the Hebrew media that the detained Palestinian, whose name is ‘Abd al-’Aziz Fakhouri, was wanted for interrogation.

However, this week, after almost a month in custody, a military judge ordered Fakhouri’s immediate release, following the discovery of another video by human rights organization B’Tselem. The new clip clearly shows that one soldier mistakenly thought that the Palestinian has cursed him, and as a result he and the other soldiers assaulted the man.

Here is the second video, which also confirms the testimony of ISM activists present at the place. The exchange happens at min 1:42: Fakhouri is clearly heard asking his friend, “They took him inside? He ate shit!” The clip shows a soldier walking away from the scene. The soldier then turns around and begins walking back again, asking, “What did you say? I’m shit? Yallah, come over here! Come here!” while trying to grab Fakhouri, who immediately replies, “I’m not talking to you, not talking to you.” A group of soldiers in civilian clothes along with one soldier in uniform appear within a few seconds and detain Fakhouri. Some of them then proceed to kick him.

Even the military court – where the prosecutor and the judge wear the same uniform – couldn’t have ignored this evidence. The judge ordered the release of Fakhouri (rendering hollow the claim that he was suspected of anything), stating that:

“As is clearly seen in the video, the respondent [Fakhouri, s.m.] was assaulted by a soldier ostensibly, dressed in civilian clothing, through no fault of his own, because he (the soldier) thought the respondent spoke ill of him.

You can read the decision here (Hebrew). Note that instead of apologizing, the military prosecution actually asked the court to reconsider the release of the Palestinian.

These are daily events in the West Bank. Only rarely is a camera – let alone a second one – present.