Scuffle between Israeli border guards and a photojournalist

Scuffle between Israeli border guards and a photojournalist
Israel's justice ministry may file charges against a former policewoman who allegedly shot a Palestinian in the back with a sponge-tipped bullet "for fun" after a video of the incident emerged over the weekend.

In the new clip, broadcast by Israel's Channel 13 news agency, Israeli border police officers at a checkpoint are seen shouting at the young man to "get out of here!" in Arabic.

After the Palestinian turns around and walks away with his hands above his head, the police continue to shout contradicting instructions at him before one of them shoots him in the back.

The unknown man is seen screaming in agony as he slumps to the floor. The security forces are not visible when the shot is fired but filmed walking away afterwards.

The Channel 13 report quoted the police as saying the man was not seriously hurt.

However, the shocking footage has drawn fresh attention to the incident, one of several hard-to-prove Palestinian claims that that Israeli security forces use excessive or unnecessary force against them.

In a Sunday statement, the justice ministry said it would soon announce whether to charge a former policewoman.

The ministry added that it had completed a criminal investigation after holding four hearings into last year's incident. It did not say when it will reveal its decision.

Israeli police said they removed the female policewoman from the force after learning of the incident, while other police involved in the incident were re-assigned.

However, the policewoman's lawyer denied she fired the bullet in a statement to Channel 13.

The news report also showed what it said were text messages between a different police officer suspected in the case bragging about shooting the Palestinian to his girlfriend.

Israeli media said the incident took place in May 2018 at al-Zaim checkpoint outside of Jerusalem.

At a bail hearing at the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court last October, Judge Elad Persky said the suspect apparently shot the Palestinian "as a dubious form of entertainment", Haaretz reported at the time.

Israel's leading human rights group, B'Tselem, said a culture of impunity was behind incidents like these.

"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.

"Such instances are the direct result of the culture of impunity fostered by Israel, which is crucial to the perpetuation of its military control over the Palestinians."