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The New Arab

Israeli policewoman charged with shooting Palestinian 'just for fun'

Border police often use sponge-tipped bullets. [Getty]

Date of publication: 21 November, 2019

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The case has drawn widespread attention since Channel 13 TV broadcast a video of the May 2018 incident earlier this month

A policewoman in Israel has been charged with assault and reckless use of a weapon for shooting an unarmed Palestinian man in the back "for fun" with a sponge-tipped bullet as he walked away from a occupied West Bank checkpoint.

The case has drawn widespread attention since Channel 13 TV broadcast a video of the May 2018 incident earlier this month.

In the video, a woman is heard screaming at a young Palestinian man to "get out of here" as he slowly walks away with his hands in the air.

A male voice tells him to lower his hands as the woman again shouts at him. Some 20 seconds later, a shot is heard as the man crumples to the ground, screaming in pain.

An investigation by the Israeli Justice Ministry concluded that the border policewoman shot the man "just for the fun of it" from a distance.

Border police often use sponge-tipped bullets as a "nonlethal" tool to disperse crowds, but the bullets are painful and can cause serious injury.

The victim, Karam Qawasmi, said on Thursday that other officers also abused him and should have been charged. He says he fears she’ll receive a "very light punishment".

Speaking to The New Arab earlier this month, Qawasmi said: "What I went through is what we Palestinians are subjected to on an almost daily basis, especially when crossing through check points."

The shocking footage has caused outrage and drawn fresh attention to the repetitive use of excessive and unnecessary force by Israeli security forces against Palestinians throughout the occupied territories.

"This exceptional documentation shows what, sadly, is an unexceptional event: Israeli security forces hurting a Palestinian for absolutely no reason," said B'Tselem spokesman Amit Gilutz after the incident.

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