IDF officer seen head-butting Palestinian youth in B’Tselem video

IDF officer seen head-butting Palestinian youth in B’Tselem video

Army spokesperson's office says clip was 'edited tendentiously,' officer was attacked by youths

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released a video Thursday showing an IDF officer head-butting a Palestinian youth in Hebron. According to a description of the event provided by B’Tselem on its YouTube page, the Palestinian is 17-year-old Thair Ghanam and the video was shot at an IDF checkpoint near the Beit Hadassah settlement in Hebron.

According to B’Tselem, Ghanam recounted that a few minutes after being told to present his ID and wait at the side of the street, “an officer arrived at the scene, and pushed him. Ghanam said that he tried to push the officer off him.

The volunteer then ceased recording while the youths stood against a wall. When the video resumes, “the video shows the officer holding the youth and taking him by force up the street, then head-butting him. The officer is then seen continuing to assault Ghanam and when he releases the youth, both disappear walking up the road.”

Immediately prior to the head-butt Ghanam can be heard on the video telling the officer in broken Hebrew Ani Balagan, which could mean “I’m messed up” or “Don’t mess with me.”

The video was shot by Zidan Sharabati, a volunteer in B’Tselem’s Camera Project, which distributes cameras to Palestinians, “in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip where clashes are commonplace.”

B’Tselem also reported that Ghanam was taken to the military base on a-Shuhada street and then released, and that he was later found to have a broken nose.

B’Tselem reported the incident to the Military Police Investigative Division and the IDF spokesperson’s office, which said the clip had been “edited tendentiously.”

“During routine activity in Hebron, a group of Palestinians refused to provide identification to IDF soldiers. When the commander of the soldiers arrived, he was violently assaulted by one of the Palestinian rioters, which is not shown in the clip. It appears that the clip was edited tendentiously and does not fully reflect the unraveling of events,” the IDF spokesperson’s office said, noting that incident was being investigated.

B’Tselem is the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. It states on its website that it “acts primarily to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Territories and ensure that its government, which rules the Occupied Territories, protects the human rights of residents there and complies with its obligations under international law.”

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