Soldier who cursed B’Tselem photographer faces disciplinary charges

Soldier who cursed B’Tselem photographer faces disciplinary charges

Troops were filmed threatening to have Palestinian camerawoman arrested as she recorded IDF search for rock throwers in Hebron

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

A soldier who was filmed cursing and threatening a Palestinian photographer for the left-wing B’Tselem human rights organization two months ago may face disciplinary charges, the army said.

In a video published by the group last week, soldiers can be seen entering a neighborhood of Hebron after rocks were apparently thrown from the area.

As the soldiers question residents of the neighborhood on the street, the B’Tselem photographer walks up and begins filming the encounters, including a moment in which the soldiers chase after a Palestinian woman holding a baby who tried to run from them.

The troops tell the camerawoman to stop filming, but she continues, telling them that she is doing it on behalf of B’Tselem.

At that point one of the soldiers can be heard in the video muttering sharmutot, an Arabic word used as Hebrew slang meaning “prostitutes” or “bitches.” He then says in Hebrew more clearly, “[Someone] needs to bust their heads.”

The soldier can be seen taking out his phone and taking a picture of the Palestinian camerawoman, telling her “so they’ll see your face and come to arrest you tonight.” Finally, he gives the woman the middle finger and turns away from her.

Another soldier then takes out his phone and starts filming the B’Tselem camerawoman. When a more senior-ranking soldier tells him to stop, the soldier responds, “They said it’s allowed.”

Under IDF regulations, soldiers are not to interfere with photographers and members of the media, including while they are conducting operations in the West Bank.

In response to the incident, the army said the actions of the soldier who cursed the Palestinian photographer were “not in line with IDF values and the behavior that’s expected of soldiers.”

The military added the incident was being looked into by his commanders and that “disciplinary actions will be taken in accordance” with their findings.

In December 2015, three soldiers were filmed disrupting a Palestinian journalist, Sara Al-Azra, as she reported on camera about what she called “Israel’s racist policy of collective punishment,” standing behind her, making hand gestures, calling out “Allahu Akbar” and saying she’s a liar.

The soldiers were given 14-day detentions by their commanders.

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