Israeli soldier condemned for putting knee on Palestinian protester’s neck – BBC News

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An Israeli soldier kneels on the head and neck of the Palestinian activist Khairi Hanoon at a protest in Shufa, in the occupied West Bank (1 September 2020)

image copyrightReuters

image captionKhairi Hanoon said he was detained at a peaceful protest, but Israel’s military called it a violent riot

Israel’s military says it is looking into an incident in which a soldier was filmed with his knee on the neck of a Palestinian man being handcuffed at a protest in the occupied West Bank.

The footage shows Khairi Hanoon, a well-known activist in his 60s, being pushed to the ground by the soldier.

The soldier then places his knee on Mr Hanoon’s neck and head for 50 seconds.

The incident prompted Palestinian condemnation, but the Israeli military said its troops acted with restraint.

It said the footage was “only partial, slanted, and does not reflect the rioting and violence toward the army forces that preceded the arrest”.

It was filmed during a protest against Israeli settlement construction in the village of Shufa, near Nablus, on Tuesday. The settlements are seen as illegal under international law, although Israel disputes this.

“A few elderly people marched, thinking that soldiers wouldn’t attack us, but we were mistaken. They attacked us like thugs,” Mr Hanoon was quoted as saying by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper.

“I’m 60, what can I do to an armed soldier? But for the officer on the scene, I’m a threat, and within minutes he began to brutally attack me.”

He compared the incident to the one in which George Floyd was killed by US police. On 25 May, an officer in Minneapolis knelt on Floyd’s neck for several minutes even after he said he could not breathe, sparking a protest movement.

“That’s how I felt, and I felt he was choking me,” Mr Hanoon said.

Mr Hanoon was later released and he returned home.

The images were circulated widely by Palestinian media, with one official calling the incident “savage”.

image copyrightReuters
image captionThe Israeli military said the videos of the incident were selectively edited

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said some 200 people took part in a “violent riot” in Shufa, during which stones were thrown and its troops were attacked.

“At one point, a Palestinian, who is known as a central agitator and participates in many riots in the [West Bank], shoved the force’s commander a number of times and tried to create a provocation,” it added.

“The commander showed restraint, but after a number of attacks on him, the force was required to arrest the suspect because he kept attacking the force and rioting.

“The suspect also resisted his arrest, and the force was forced to handcuff him. After his arrest, the suspect was given medical treatment at the scene.”

Related Topics

  • West Bank

  • Israel
  • Israel & the Palestinians
  • Palestinian territories

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