Israeli border guard policemen were caught on camera beating and abusing a 17-year-old Palestinian youth from Huwwara village, near Nablus, in the northern part of the West Bank on Wednesday.The attack was filmed by a local resident who was present when the soldiers committed the act. The Israeli police said that its investigation unit would probe the incident.
An Israeli commander reported that there had been a drop of 64% in investigations carried out to probe attacks and incidents of Border Guard Policemen using excessive force in 2006.
Avi Peretz, a commander in charge of the investigation team, stated that the investigation into this case should not take long since there is solid evidence; a film documenting the case.
After watching the film, the Police investigation unit decided to launch a probe immediately. Commander Peretz estimated that the investigation would take one week to be concluded, the Ynet reported.
He added that the investigators still have to listen to the soldiers involved in the incident and that in similar cases, soldiers were indicted and imprisoned.
In an interview with the Ynet Israeli news site, the youth who was abused, Hindawi Quwarik, stated that at about 12 pm on Wednesday he and his friends were leaving school and noticed an Israeli military jeep.
He said that he told his schoolmates that if they pass near the jeep, soldiers will attack them as they did a few weeks ago.
The policemen approached the youth and starting interrogating them about a stone-throwing incident that took place earlier, the Ynet said. Later on, soldiers decided to detain the three youth for interrogation.
Hindawi said that he pretended that he did not hear the soldiers and kept walking.
“I could still remember the abuse and beating I was subjected to last week”, He said, “One of the soldiers chased me, and then I stopped”.
The soldier dragged Hindawi back to the jeep location and there he pushed him and pinned him to the wall.
Facing the wall, the soldier started beating Hindawi and hitting him in the legs with the rifle. The soldier also slammed Hindawi's head against the door of a nearby container, pushed him to the ground and started hitting him on his head.
“I started screaming, and I told them that I did nothing wrong, I told them that they can check my identity card”, Hindawi stated, “But they ignored my words and kept on hitting me”.
One of the soldiers took Hindawi's books out of his bag and tore them apart, and then the soldiers slapped and punched him again before releasing him.
Hindawi’s account was verified by eyewitnesses who were present at the scene.
Hindawi told the Ynet that this kind of violence became a daily routine in the village as the soldiers repeatedly carried out similar attacks and abuse.
“We very often miss the first two classes because soldiers detain us”, He added, “They humiliate and beat us”.
Another resident of the village said that soldiers, mostly Border Guard policemen “have turned our lives into nightmares”, the Ynet reported.
“They come to the village very often, and declare curfew”, the resident said, “They claim that stones were hurled at their jeeps”.
Another resident said that soldiers repeatedly harass the village girls, which causes social problems within the Palestinian families in addition to causing psychological problems to the harassed girls.
“Those girls have to handle curses that are unacceptable in our society”, the resident told the Ynet.
Dozens of residents filed complaints to the Coordination Liaison Authority but the complaints yielded no results.
Leftist members of Knesset slammed the military violations and called for police investigation into these issues.
Chairwoman of the Meretz faction, member of Knesset, Zahava Gal-On, called on the Israeli police to probe these cases and interrogate the involved officers.
“Border Guard officers think that no one is watching them, so they carry out brutal attacks in the occupied territories against the residents”, Gal-On stated, “These images show the brutality of the occupation”.
Member of Knesset Danny Yatom, from the Labor party, urged Israel’s security minister, the police commissioner and the Border Guard commander to launch an immediate probe and publish the results.
Yatom added that officers responsible for violence should be severely punished, and if not “the Israeli public should know about these violations”.
Meretz member of Knesset, Avshalom Vilan, said that there is no doubt that “the occupation corrupts even the best soldiers”, and called for a probe into the incident.
“We must make sure that there is no inappropriate behavior allowed among the soldiers”, Vilan stated, “We must investigate this incident”.
Member of Knesset, Mohammad Barakeh, from the Hadash party, said that soldiers and security officers “draw their cruelty from the prevailing atmosphere in the Israeli street", the Ynet reported.