JERUSALEM (AA) – Video footage showing an Israeli sniper gunning down an unarmed Palestinian was captured recently near the Gaza-Israel border, an Israeli rights group said Tuesday.
“The video, which shows Israeli soldiers deliberately killing an unarmed Palestinian near the border fence, was filmed during Gaza’s recent border rallies,” Karim Jubran, a field research director for B'Tselem, an Israeli rights group, told Anadolu Agency on Tuesday.
“The video isn’t old,” he said. “It was captured during the events of the past two weeks.”
The video, Jubran went on to stress, “reflects the fact that Palestinians are regularly targeted [by Israeli soldiers] for entertainment”.
“It also shows that Palestinian demonstrators [near the border] don’t pose a threat to the Israeli army, which means that killing them is a war crime,” he said.
He added: “Shooting unarmed civilians is a clear violation of international law and the right to hold peaceful protests.”
The video, Jubran went on to assert, “can be used as documentary evidence to try them [i.e., Israeli army officers] as war criminals”.
The footage — which was released on Monday by Breaking the Silence, an Israeli rights NGO — appears to have been filmed through a sniper rifle scope.
In it, an Israeli commander can be heard ordering soldiers to open fire on unarmed Palestinians standing near the border fence.
After gunning down an unarmed Palestinian youth, the soldiers can be heard cheering and congratulating each other.
The Israeli army, for its part, says the footage was taken several months ago.
“The incident will be carefully examined,” the army said in a Tuesday statement.
According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 31 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli army cross-border gunfire since Mar. 30, when peaceful rallies began along the Gaza Strip’s eastern border with Israel.
The rallies are part of a six-week-long demonstration that will culminate on May 15. That day will mark the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment — an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "Catastrophe".
Demonstrators demand that Palestinian refugees be granted the "right of return" to their towns and villages in historical Palestine from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.