Palestinian who filmed Hebron shooting faces threats to his life

Ever since he filmed an Israeli soldier executing a Palestinian man in Hebron, Emad Abu Shamsiya has been subject to violent threats. Things became so bad his family had to leave their home. So why do the police refuse to help?

By John Brown*

Ever since a video showing Israeli soldier Elor Azaria executing an immobilized Palestinian attacker in Hebron was published, Emad Abu Shamsiya, the man who captured the incident on video, has been subject to threats against his life by right-wing activists and settlers. The latter even threw stones at his home, according to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, where Abu Shamsiya works.

Last week B’Tselem filed a complaint with Israel Police, claiming that officers prevented Abu Shamsiya from submitting his own complaint about the threats he received on the internet.

Abu Shamsiya describes how last Sunday he arrived at the police station in Hebron to file a complaint about the threats, which included comments such as “I will kill you, you disabled asshole,” “your time will come,” and threatening videos.

After a lengthy wait he was told that the station was too busy and that he should return the following day.

The next day, after another long wait, he was told that he could not file a complaint, since the only officer who could deal with issue was not present.

Abu Shamsiya returned for a third day, waiting a number of hours to be helped. When he approached one of the investigators, he was told to go home and threatened with arrest should he refuse to do so.

In her letter to the police, Abu Shamsiya’s attorney, Gaby Lasky, wrote the following:

There are not enough words to describe the severity of Hebron police’s behavior, which vehemently refuses to fulfill its basic obligation and accept my client’s urgent complaint, under various, changing pretexts, while treating him with blatant disrespect. There is no doubt that the police’s behavior amounts to severe disciplinary offenses toward my client, including the criminal offense of using police authority for the wrong purposes.

Due to the threats, the Abu Shamsiya family was forced to leave its home in Hebron for a number of days. The police’s failure to deal with the threats and incitement on the internet (it is reasonable to assume that had Palestinians written similar things they would have been arrested, even if no one filed a complaint) — as well as its refusal to accept the complaint, amount to a price tag against those who try to expose criminal acts.

West Bank police have yet to respond to the above claims.

*John Brown is the pseudonym of an Israeli academic and a blogger. This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call where he is a blogger. Read it here.

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