Just days after a journalist and at least eight other Palestinians were gunned down by Israeli forces during anti-occupation demonstrations in Gaza, a recent video of an Israeli sniper shooting an unarmed Palestinian man emerged for the first time on social media Monday, providing further evidence that the deliberate killing of civilians "is routine for Israel."
"This video may be from months ago, Israel is claiming, which does not in any way make it less horrifying," Ali Abunimah, co-founder of Electric Intifada, wrote on Twitter Monday.
After the sniper shoots the man, one of the soldiers yells "yes!" and "son of a bitch!" in celebration as a crowd rushes toward the body.
Watch (warning: the video is disturbing):
— Luke Tress (@luketress) April 9, 2018
In response to the video, which sparked outrage as it began to spread on Twitter Monday, U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights executive director Yousef Munayyer noted that "while this shows one individual soldier's act, it is made possible by criminal orders from the top that authorized use of lethal force against unarmed protesters that has resulted in hundreds being shot."
As Common Dreams reported, the prominent Jerusalem-based human rights group B'Tselem argued ahead of last week's protests that Israeli soldiers are "duty-bound to refuse to comply" with "patently illegal" orders to shoot unarmed civilians.
In a statement on Monday, Ayman Odeh—leader of the Joint List, an alliance of four predominantly Arab parties in Israel's parliament—called the latest video of Israeli soldiers massacring a civilian "horrifying" and said "the soldier who shot should be prosecuted, but whoever gave the order to shoot unarmed demonstrators is the truly dangerous one."
The Israeli Defense Forces announced after the video emerged that the incident is being "reviewed" and "investigated."
The interesting thing from this response, if true, shows that the Israeli military shoots at unarmed protesters and only cares to "investigate" such incidents several months later when embarrassing video surfaces. https://t.co/dhqagwKpaF
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— (((YousefMunayyer))) (@YousefMunayyer) April 9, 2018
Last Friday's demonstrations—which largely consisted of tire-burning, reading lines, and prayer—were part of six weeks of planned demonstrations titled the "Great March of Return." According to the Gazan health ministry, at least 30 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces over the past two weeks.
Human Rights Watch has denounced the killings as "calculated" and "unlawful."
Appearing on Democracy Now! Monday morning, The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald argued that appalling incidents similar to those depicted in the latest video—like when the Israeli military gunned down children playing soccer on a Gazan beach in 2014—show that it is "time to acknowledge and accept the reality of what Israel is."
"Whatever you thought of Israel in the past, believing that it was some kind of bastion of liberal democracy in the Middle East, that it was surrounded by primitive brutal enemies, all the propaganda, what's clear now is that Israel is something quite different than all of that," Greenwald said. "And even people who once believed that are now starting to come and see that Israel is an apartheid, rogue, terrorist state."
I think the question now is, you know, all these people in the West who love to go around urging humanitarian intervention, and the West needs to stop Assad, the West needs to stop Gaddafi, the West needs to stop Saddam Hussein—doesn't the West need to stop the Israeli government? At the very least, stop arming it and sending it money and sending it intelligence and providing diplomatic cover? Because the Western governments that do that, led by the U.K. and the United States, are very much complicit in everything that's being done to the Palestinians, which are war crimes and, increasingly, apartheid, and genocide.
Watch the full segment: