Press Release By B’Tselem; On Saturday, 19.5.2012, around four thirty in the afternoon, a large group of settlers descended on the eastern outskirts of the village ‘Asira al-Qibliya, from the settlement Yitzhar. B’Tselem volunteer photographers filmed the events from two angles.The video shows the settlers, some of whom were masked and armed, throwing stones at Palestinian homes, and fires beginning to burn. One of the masked settlers was armed with a ‘Tavor’ rifle which is only used by infantry soldiers, raising the suspicion that he is a soldier on leave.
Palestinian youths from the village soon arrived and threw stones at the settlers. A few minutes later, soldiers and Border Police officers arrived at the scene. During these moments, the video records the sound of several rounds of live ammunition being fired, but does not show its source.
Footage from 1st camera
Around 5pm, a group of three settlers are seen standing with a soldier in front of the Palestinian youths, while all around there is mutual stone throwing. Two of the settlers seen were armed with M4 rifles, and one was armed with a pistol. One of the settlers is wearing what looks like a police cap. The video footage shows the settlers aiming their weapons at the Palestinians and firing.
The firing injured village resident, Fathi ‘Asayira, 24, in the head. He is seen being evacuated from the area by a group of youths. He is hospitalized in a stable condition in Rafidiya hospital in Nablus. About fie other Palestinians were injured by stones.
Footage from 2nd camera
The video footage raises grave suspicions that the soldiers present did not act to prevent the settlers from throwing stones and firing live ammunition at the Palestinians. The soldiers did not try to remove the settlers and in fact are seen standing by settlers while they are shooting and stone throwing.
B’Tselem wrote urgently to the Judea and Samaria Police requesting that those involved in the violent attack are arrested and prosecuted.
Additionally, B’Tselem wrote to the Military Police Investigative Unit (MPIU) requesting that a military police investigation is opened at once into the suspicion that the soldiers did not adhere to their obligation to protect Palestinians from settler violence, and that one of the attackers was a soldier on leave.
B’Tselem additionally requested that the soldiers are instructed to cooperate with the police investigation and identify the suspect in the shooting.
Beginning of the incident