IDF probing B’Tselem video showing soldier slashing Palestinian car tires

Military defends footage of troops throwing tear gas grenades toward a home in Kafr Qaddum, saying rocks were being thrown at them at the time, though this is not seen on camera

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

The Israeli military said it was investigating claims by the left-wing B’Tselem human rights organization that soldiers slashed the tires of a Palestinian car in the village of Kafr Qaddum in the northern West Bank on Saturday.

The Israel Defense Forces also responded to additional claims by the group that troops threw tear gas grenades into the home of a Palestinian activist on Saturday, saying that the soldiers had done so as part of riot dispersal efforts during a violent demonstration.

B’Tselem released footage of the incidents, which occurred around the time of a weekly protest in the village against the closure of one of an access road to make room for the expansion of the nearby Kedumim settlement.

“The house at which the… grenades were thrown belongs to Murad Shtewi, one of the leaders of the protests in the village, at a time when he was there with his wife and five children,” B’Tselem said in a statement.

The military said the tear gas grenades appeared to be in response to the riot.

“Rioters set tires on fire and threw rocks at IDF troops, mostly from rooftops and yards in the village. An initial investigation that was performed indicates that the IDF soldier responded with riot dispersal weapons,” the IDF said in a statement.

In the footage from the scenes, there does not appear to be any immediate violence in the area preceding the soldiers’ actions.

A Palestinian limousine whose tires were slashed in Kafr Qaddum during a violent demonstration in the northern West Bank village on May 30, 2020. (B’Tselem)

The military said it was investigating the video footage that showed a soldier slashing the tires of a Palestinian limousine.

However, the IDF said it was not “known if the video was filmed in Kafr Qaddum or when.”

In response to the military’s comment, B’Tselem released additional photographs of the vehicle, showing that it was clearly located in the village, next to Shtewi’s home.

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