The Israeli army on Monday said it was investigating an incident that was exposed by two video clips in which troops appeared to stand by without intervening as settlers shot at Palestinians.
The shooting incident took place on Saturday afternoon during stone-throwing clashes between settlers from the hardline Yitzhar settlement and Palestinian villagers from Asira al-Qibliya near Nablus.
The footage, which shows a Palestinian being shot by two settlers in the presence of at least three soldiers, was captured by a volunteer for the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.
The apparent indifference of the soldiers was widely covered by the Israeli press.
In response, the army said troops had arrived at the scene to break up a violent confrontation in which both sides were throwing stones at each other.
“During the confrontation live fire was used; the incident is currently being investigated by the division commander,” a military statement said.
“That said, it appears that the video in question does not reflect the incident in its entirety,” it added, without elaborating.
In one of the clips, two settlers with M-16 assault rifles can be seen opening fire at a stone-thrower in a green shirt who collapses onto the ground after being hit in the head.
In the second clip from a slightly different angle, a third settler can be seen firing with a pistol towards the stone-throwers as three soldiers stand close by doing nothing.
B’Tselem filed a complaint with the police, urging them to prosecute the gunmen, and also with the military police calling for an investigation into suspicions the soldiers “did not adhere to their obligation to protect Palestinians from settler violence.”
“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 NGO said in a statement late on Sunday.
“The soldiers did not try to remove the settlers and in fact are seen standing by settlers while they are shooting and stone throwing.”