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Israel Arrests Soldier Over Beaten Protester

Dominic Waghorn | Sky News

8 October 2009

The move comes as concern mounts about Israeli methods in handling protests in the West Bank village of Bil’in.

Village councillor Mohammed Khatib was treated in hospital after he allegedly was beaten to the head on September 15, during an attempt to arrest one of his friends.

Human rights organisation Yesh-Din has released a photograph showing the injuries he sustained.

Bil’in has been the scene of a persistent campaign of protests against Israel’s security barrier.

Israeli authorities failed to implement an Israeli court order to re-route the barrier in the area.

Recently Israeli security forces have conducted a series of early morning raids targeting protest leaders.

Israeli human rights lawyer Michael Sfard claims the Israeli military is attempting to “squash the legitimate unarmed popular struggle in Bil’in through a variety of illegal means: violence, wrongful arrests and night searches carried out just to instill fear”.

Yesh Din human rights organisation says Khatib was warned by soldiers that “unless the protests stop, you’ll end up like Bassem”.

Israeli soldier fires tear gas at protesters in the West Bank

Controversial tear gas tactics

This was said to be a reference to Bassem abu Rahma, who was killed during a protest rally in the village in April, with a high velocity tear gas round.

The use of such rounds is highly controversial.

In March, American activist Tristan Anderson was critically injured and put in a coma when he was struck by a tear gas round during a demonstration in the neighbouring village of Nalin.

Israeli security forces claim the rounds are necessary to disperse rock throwing protesters.

But when they are fired directly at people such rounds are potentially lethal.

Video of the incidents involving Anderson and Bassem suggests in both cases they were fired at directly.

Last year, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy was killed by Israelis using live ammunition in the village of Naalin.

During his funeral a 18-year-old Palestinian was shot dead at close range with a rubber-coated bullet.