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Date posted: July 21, 2008
By MIFTAH

On July 20, the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem released a video shot by a young Palestinian girl in the West Bank village of Nilin that shows an Israeli soldier shoot a rubber-coated steel bullet at a bound and blindfolded Palestinian. The video was taken on July 7 during a demonstration in the village in protest of the separation wall there.

The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy, MIFTAH, is appalled by the brutality in which the Israeli army treats unarmed Palestinian civilians. While this is certainly not the first time Israeli soldiers have shown such disrespect for human dignity, the fact that it is on tape and has been widely disseminated means any silence from the international community equals complicity with the crime.

The young man, 27-year-old Ashraf Abu Rahmeh, said the soldiers had detained him for 30 minutes during which they beat him before shooting him in the left toe. In the video, Abu Rahmeh is seen standing near an army jeep, blindfolded and with his hands bound behind his back. The soldier, who was standing approximately 1.5 meters away from him, clearly points his gun at Abu Rahmeh's foot before pulling the trigger.

While Israel immediately said it would open an investigation into the incident and later claimed it arrested the soldier in question, MIFTAH believes this is insufficient in putting a halt to such atrocities. So-called Israeli investigations into similar incidents have been opened before with no punitive measures taken against the soldiers who carried out the crime. A higher ranking Israeli army officer was present at the shooting, which means the soldier was not acting alone and most likely received the okay from his superior.

MIFTAH sees this most recent violation of Palestinian human rights as a wake up call to the United Nations and the international community at large. It is now the duty of these parties and human rights organizations to hold Israel accountable for the illegal and inhumane actions of its army. Palestinians have long called for such action, calls which have mostly fallen on deaf ears. With this newly released video tape clearly showing Israel's blatant use of brutality towards an unarmed, blindfolded and bound Palestinian civilian who was participating in a peaceful protest against Israel's illegal wall in the West Bank, it has become immoral to cast these evidences aside.

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