The video, provided by the human rights group Yesh Din, was filmed during a confrontation between masked Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the northern West Bank, which in recent months has been dominated by Israeli forces. attacks and shootings of Palestinians.
Critics have long accused the Israeli military and defense establishment of uncomfortably close ties with the settlers. The Ministry of Defense pays the settlement guards salaries, and many commanders-in-chief live in the settlement. Soldiers are often seen standing when settlers attack Palestinians or their property. This week, settlers rampaging in the northern West Bank sprayed pepper on several soldiers in an attempt to disperse them.
“We were used to seeing soldiers doing nothing to stop settlers, but in recent years we have seen active cooperation among them,” said Yesh Din’s Executive Director. One Ziv Stahl says:
In the video, the settlers are seen walking to the top of the hill and handing a guard what Yesh Din says are two gas grenades. A guard then hands over one of the grenades before being seen pointing in the direction of what appears to be a Palestinian off-screen, and the settler throws one grenade just like that. The member points again and the colonist throws his second grenade.
Guards are intended to control settlements throughout the West Bank and stand by until soldiers and police arrive.
Another video of the clash, provided by Yesh Din, also shows soldiers waiting for the masked settlers to throw stones at them. There are no Palestinians in the video.
The Israeli military said the incident and the actions of the guards were under investigation.
The military said both Palestinians and settlers were throwing stones. He said the uniformed person in the video was not a soldier, but a security guard paid by the Israeli Defense Ministry and appointed by a regional military officer.
According to the military, security guards at the settlement generally don’t wear uniforms, but the guard in the video wore what appeared to be Israeli military uniform. He is armed with a helmet and also wears a black face covering that hides half of his face.
In the 1967 Middle East war, Israel occupied the West Bank along with the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, territories the Palestinians want for their future state. More than 500,000 of her people now live in about 130 settlements in the West Bank.
Associate Press writer Fares Akram contributed to this report from Hamilton, Ontario.
This story was modified to show that the Israeli group said the grenade in the video was a gas grenade and not a stun grenade.